German contractor Bilfinger pulls out of Nordstream 2 heating plant contract

German contractor Bilfinger has withdrawn from its contract to supply construction services to Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, the Reuters news agency reports. 

Bilfinger Engineering & Technologies was to have supplied process control and safety systems for the pipeline as well as a "heat station" for the preheating of natural gas at the point where the pipeline comes ashore at Lubmin.

The gas that will arrive from Russia has to have its pressure reduced from 180 bar and be heated above its normal temperature of 5°C in order for it to be fed into the European gas grid.

Bilfinger declined to give its reasons for pulling out, however companies that have worked on the €9.5bn Gazprom pipeline, which will deliver natural gas from northern Russia to Germany, are at risk of US sanctions.

On 1 January, the US congress authorised the White House to impose sanctions against any company working on the line.

The sanctions are part of a last-ditch attempt to halt completion of the 55 billion cubic metre/year project. The measure allows the administration to impose sanctions against any entity that is involved in providing any direct or indirect service to the project.

Bilfinger North America has four subsidiaries in the US, with offices in over 40 states, thousands of employees and a network of subcontractor and supplier partners throughout the country.

If it is completed, Nordstream 2 will transport gas from near St Petersburg to Germany. At present, around 16.5km of the system’s two parallel pipes remain to be installed in German waters, and a total of 127km in Danish waters.

Image: Allseas’ vessel Solitaire laying Nord Stream 2 pipe in Swedish waters (Allseas)

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