Business/economics

Nord Stream 2 Lays Off Staff, Eni To Leave Separate Gazprom Pipeline Project

A week after its certification was halted, the company managing the Gazprom-operated pipeline has let go its staff and says its website has been attacked.

jpt_2022_nordstream2_russia.jpg
A Nord Stream 2 pipeline facility in Russia.
Source: Nord Stream 2 AG.

A week after the German government halted the certification of the Gazprom-operated Nord Stream 2 pipeline the company behind the project has terminated around 100 employees. This is according to local reports in Switzerland where Nord Stream 2 AG is based.

Prior reports that the company had filed with Swiss authorities for bankruptcy were refuted on 2 March.

A statement issued on the company's webpage reads: "We cannot confirm the media reports that Nord Stream 2 has filed for bankruptcy. The company only informed the local authorities that the company had to terminate contracts with employees following the recent geopolitical developments leading to the imposition of US sanctions on the company."

The statement is all that remains of the Nord Stream 2 website which the company said it has almost entirely shut down "due to serious and continuous attacks from outside."

The firm also said that its land line and mobile phone lines have been disabled and that the local telecommunications provider has not provided phone number transfers "as promised and negotiated."

The $11-billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline finished construction in September and pending final approvals was set to flow with 5.3 Bcf/D of Russian gas.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said last week that he was cancelling the project after Russia officially recognized two breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine. Days later, Russian armed forces began a large-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The ongoing conflict has resulted in some of the biggest European energy companies seeking to break ties with their Russian counterparts. This includes BP, Shell, and Equinor which all announced this week plans to divest from Russian joint ventures—moves that may amount to $30 billion in writedowns.

Italian oil and gas producer Eni joined the exodus on 1 March in announcing its plan to sell its stake in a Gazprom-operated pipeline. The Blue Stream gas pipeline transports Russian-sourced gas to Turkey via the Black Sea.

Eni told Reuters that its joint ventures with Russian state-controlled Rosneft had been frozen since 2014—the year Russia unilaterally absorbed Crimea from Ukraine. “The current presence of Eni in Russia is marginal,” an Eni spokesperson told Reuters.

The mounting sanctions being imposed by the US and European nations on Russia have apparently spilled over into another pipeline project in Kazakhstan.

This is also according to Reuters which said Tuesday that the 1.2 million B/D that flows through the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) pipeline is facing difficulty finding buyers. This is chiefly because some of the crude inside the CPC pipeline is blended with Russian grades along with the use of loadings at a Russian port.

Update: This article was updated on 2 March to reflect a new statement from Nord Stream 2 AG denying media reports that it has entered into the bankruptcy process.

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