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DarkSide hackers claim they wanted cash – not economic havoc caused by cyberattack on US pipeline

The cyberattack on a critical US oil hub that forced the shutdown of Colonial Pipeline wasn’t aimed at causing a gas shortage chaos. The ransomware gang claims financial benefit was the only goal.

Last Friday, the IT systems of the pipeline’s vital infrastructure, which transits various oil products, including diesel, gasoline and jet fuel between the US Gulf Coast and the New York Harbor area, were attacked with ransomware, forcing Colonial Pipeline to temporarily halt all operations.
Also on rt.com Gas stations run dry and motorists queue for fuel in US, as ransomware attack on pipeline leads to shortages (VIDEOS)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) blamed a cyber-criminal group DarkSide, which had previously attacked a number of corporations with ransomware – software that encrypts a victim’s files, holding them hostage until a ransom is paid.

“About the latest news, our goal is to make money, and not creating problems for society,” a brief news release posted to DarkSide’s website claims, providing no details on how much money the hackers were seeking.

The statement doesn’t directly mention Colonial Pipeline. So far, the company hasn’t provided any comment on the hackers’ statement, while US officials said they were not involved in negotiations over the ransom.
Also on rt.com Traders scramble to buy gasoline from Europe after US pipeline outage
The incident raised deep concerns about fuel shortages and price spikes at service stations. On Tuesday, multiple states, including North Carolina, Virginia, Florida declared a state of emergency, as more than 1,000 such outlets across the eastern US are reportedly running out of fuel.

Colonial Pipeline provides fuel for 45% of the US East Coast, transporting some 2.5 million barrels a day of refined oil.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

Author: RT
This post originally appeared on RT Business News

Colonial Pipeline crisis: US petrol station panic-buying erupts – gas prices skyrocket

Colonial Pipeline: Drivers queue for gas after cyberattack

And prices for gasoline have also rocketed to their highest in seven years amid uncertainty about when normal service will be resumed. Last week’s ransomware attack halted 2.5 million barrels per day of fuel shipments in what has already been acknowledged to be the most disruptive cyberattack on US energy infrastructure in history.

The privately-owned pipeline stretches 5,500 miles (8,850 km) from US Gulf Coast oil refineries to consumers in Mid-Atlantic and Southeast states, running from Texas to New York.

Operators have manually opened portions of the line to release needed supplies in Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey and the Carolinas.

The company said it had accepted 2 million barrels of fuel to begin a restart that would “substantially” restore operation by week’s end, the company said.

The so-called supply crunch, amid panic buying by motorists, has brought long lines and high prices at gas stations ahead of the Memorial Day holiday weekend at the end of the month, which marks the start of the peak summer driving season.

Colonial Pipeline hackers

The cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline has triggered waves of panic-buying at the pumps (Image: Reuters)

Colonial Pipeline hackers

Many petrol stations were forced to close (Image: Reuters)

Gas stations from Florida to Virginia began running dry and prices at the pump rose yesterday, as the shutdown extended into a fifth day.

Almost one-third of gas stations in metro Atlanta and in Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina, were without fuel, tracking firm GasBuddy confirmed.

The average price for regular gasoline rose to $ 2.99 a gallon, the highest since 2014.

Charles Staples, a 31-year-old banker, having circling rows of shut fuel pumps in his Volvo at an Atlanta station, said: “This place is dead closed.

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Motorists gasoline

Motorists formed long queues for gasoline (Image: Reuters)

Colonial Pipeline: Gas prices to increase after cyber attack

“I heard about the thing, but I just thought they’d be long lines or something.”

In Raleigh, North Carolina, the last few stores with gas were those along major roads, said Todd Sloan, a general contractor.

He added: “Those that have fuel have very long lines.”

In total four southeast states – Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia – joined federal regulators in relaxing driver and fuel restrictions to speed deliveries of supplies. Georgia has suspended sales tax on gasoline until Saturday.

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Charlotte North Carolina

Attendants direct cars to gas pumps in Charlotte, North Carolina (Image: GETTY)

US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm

US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm (Image: GETTY)

Gas stations from Florida to Virginia began running dry and prices at the pump rose on Tuesday, as the shutdown of the biggest US fuel pipeline by hackers extended into a fifth day and sparked panic buying by motorists.

The FBI has accused a shadowy criminal gang called DarkSide of the ransomware attack. DarkSide is believed to be based in Russia or Eastern Europe.

Russia’s Embassy in the United States yesterday rejected speculation that Moscow was behind the attack.

President Joe Biden on Monday said there was no evidence so far that Russia was responsible – although he did suggest the hackers were based in the country.

Colonial Pipeline

Colonial Pipeline’s network stretches 5,500 miles (Image: US Energy Information Administration)

No details about how much money the hackers are seeking have yet emerged, and Colonial has not commented on whether it would pay in any case.

US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters at the White House: “We are asking people not to hoard. Things will be back to normal soon.”

Brandon Wales, acting director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), addressed a Senate hearing yesterday about the SolarWinds hack that came to light in December and hit companies and government agencies.

He warned: “Cyber attacks on our nation’s infrastructure are growing more sophisticated, frequent and aggressive.”

Colonial Pipeline

Colonial Pipeline’s network has been taken offline by the attack (Image: GETTY)

Gulf Coast refiners which rely on the Colonial pipeline to move fuel to market have cut processing.

Total SE scaled back gasoline production at its Port Arthur, Texas, refinery, and Citgo Petroleum pared back at its Lake Charles, Louisiana, plant.

Citgo said it is moving products from its Lake Charles refinery and “exploring alternate supply methods into other impacted markets.”

Marathon Petroleum, another large refiner, said it is “making adjustments” to its operations due to the pipeline shutdown.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

AAA Texas: Colonial Pipeline shutdown will have little impact to state gas supply, urges people not to panic

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A message for calm is coming from AAA Texas after many worried what effect the cyberattack against the Colonial Pipeline might have on the state’s gas supply.

Josh Zuber, a spokesman for AAA Texas, said in fact the pipeline’s temporary shutdown would have “little to no impact” on gas availability across the state. More of that concern, he said, should be concentrated for those living in East Coast states because the pipeline delivers about 45% of the fuel used along the Eastern Seaboard.

“Specifically Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia [and] into Delaware, markets within these states are likely to experience reduced fuel availability,” Zuber said.

He said if people stop at gas stations throughout Texas and find any supply issues, that’s more likely due to another issue unrelated to the pipeline.

“If they’re seeing anything, which we haven’t heard any reports in Texas or Austin of low- to no-fuel situations, that’s because of delayed deliveries stemming from a shortage of fuel truck drivers — again, not the Colonial Pipeline,” Zuber said.

“There is ample supply of gasoline in the U.S.,” he added. “It’s just a matter of getting deliveries to stations to meet demand.”

Nationally overnight, AAA reported the average price of regular unleaded is $ 2.98 per gallon — an increase of about a penny. However, Zuber said the average in Texas is $ 2.70 per gallon, making it the third cheapest in the country.

“Yes, we’re going to see fuel prices possibly continue to rise,” Zuber said, “but are there going to be significant jumps? More than likely not throughout the Austin area and Texas.”

He also urged people not to “panic buy” gasoline or to carry extra gas in their vehicles because of the danger that poses.

Even though the price and supply of fuel remained stable in Texas on Monday, experts told KXAN a build-up of supply could shake the state economy.

Author: Will DuPree
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

Traders scramble to buy gasoline from Europe after US pipeline outage

Commodity traders have booked at least six tankers – provisionally – to start shipping gasoline from Europe to the US in the wake of the outage of the Colonial Pipeline network, Reuters reports, citing data from Refinitiv.

The United States has declared a state of emergency.

Colonial Pipeline Co. shut down its network, which supplies close to half of the gasoline and diesel that the East Coast consumes, on Friday following a ransomware attack on the infrastructure. This prompted fears of fuel shortages and price spikes at the pump.

Indeed, the prices of gasoline and heating oil futures in New York rose on the news despite expert comments that supply shortages could only occur if the pipeline network, with a capacity for 2.5 million bpd of fuels, remains shut down for more than three days.
Also on rt.com Reported cyberattack on major US pipeline sends oil & gasoline prices higher
Colonial Pipeline Co. said in a statement on Sunday that while its four main lines remained shut, it had begun restarting some smaller lines between terminals and delivery points.

“We are in the process of restoring service to other laterals and will bring our full system back online only when we believe it is safe to do so, and in full compliance with the approval of all federal regulations,” the company also said.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources, that Valero Energy had chartered a tanker to store oil offshore in anticipation of a prolonged Colonial Pipeline outage. The Reuters sources also said other Gulf Coast refiners had also been organizing tankers for floating storage.
Also on rt.com Biden says ‘no evidence’ Russia responsible for pipeline cyberattack… but Russia has ‘some responsibility’
To minimize the risk of fuel shortages on the East Coast, Washington on Sunday issued an emergency waiver on fuel transportation by road, the BBC reported earlier. The waiver will grant tanker truck drivers more flexible hours of work across 18 states.

The BBC cited energy analyst Gaurav Sharma as saying supply problems could arise as early as Tuesday despite the waiver unless the network is restarted in full, with the first states to feel the impact Georgia and Tennessee.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

Author: RT
This post originally appeared on RT Business News

Reported cyberattack on major US pipeline sends oil & gasoline prices higher

Crude and fuel price rose on Monday as one of the largest fuel pipeline systems in the US remained largely shut down after a reported cyberattack. The US has declared a state of emergency in 17 states due to the situation.

Both Brent and US West Texas Intermediate futures climbed around 0.7% to $ 68.79 a barrel and $ 65.37 a barrel respectively on Monday morning. Meanwhile, US gasoline futures and heating oil jumped around 1%. 

The spike comes shortly after Colonial Pipeline, the operator of a key gasoline pipeline that transports about 45% of fuel consumed by the US East Coast, said it had been hit by a cyberattack. The company had to halt operations of its main lines, with only smaller lines between terminals and delivery points remaining operational. The operator is still struggling to get the full system back online, and did not say when it would be able to do that. 
Also on rt.com Largest US pipeline halts all operations after cyber-attack
Some analysts warn that longer disruptions could push prices at the pumps higher. According to Bloomberg, average US gasoline prices may rise to $ 3 a gallon – their highest since 2014 – faster than previously expected, until Memorial Day at the end of May.

“If it [disruption] lasts longer, it’s likely to result in some location dislocations – shortage of oil products in the East Coast, abundance in the Gulf region. That will support New York product prices and might attract more oil products from abroad,” Giovanni Staunovo, commodity analyst at UBS Group AG, said, as cited by Bloomberg.

On Sunday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a regional emergency declaration covering 17 states and the District of Columbia. The order relaxes rules for drivers carrying gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

Author: RT
This post originally appeared on RT Business News

After Pipeline Cyberextortion Attempt, Gasoline Ticks Higher

NEW YORK (AP) — Gasoline futures are ticking higher Monday following a cyberextortion attempt on a vital U.S. pipeline that carries fuel from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast.

The Colonial Pipeline transports gasoline and other fuel through 10 states between Texas and New Jersey. It delivers roughly 45% of fuel consumed on the East Coast, according to the company.

Colonial Pipeline said Saturday that it had been hit by a ransomware attack and had halted all pipeline operations to deal with the threat. Two people close to the investigation said that the shutdown had been carried out by a criminal gang known as DarkSide that cultivates a Robin Hood image of stealing from corporations and giving a cut to charity.

Futures for crude and fuel, prices that traders pay for contracts for delivery at some point in the future, typically begin to rise each year as the driving season approaches. The price you pay at the gas pump tends to follow.

The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline has jumped 6 cents over the past two weeks, to $ 3.02 per gallon, which is $ 1.05 higher than it was a year ago. Those year ago numbers are skewed somewhat because the nation was going into lockdown due to the pandemic.

The attack on the Colonial Pipeline could exacerbate that upward pressure on prices if it is unresolved for a period of time.

Futures jumped 1.5% Monday, the largest movement in about a week, with the potential for disruptions in fuel delivery still unknown.

Colonial is in the process of restarting portions of its network. It said Sunday that its main pipeline remained offline, but that some smaller lines were operational.

For the moment, seesawing prices may be felt mostly within the energy industry as suppliers adjust to potential shifts in the flow of gasoline.

More fuel may be sourced from East Cost refiners, J.P. Morgan said Monday, and an extended outage along the Colonial Pipeline would force suppliers to seek fuel from the Midwest, rather than the Gulf.

In response to the attack, the Biden administration loosened regulations for the transport of petroleum products on highways as part of an “all-hands-on-deck” effort to avoid disruptions in the fuel supply.

Author: AP News
This post originally appeared on Snopes.com

Major US Pipeline Halts Operations After Ransomware Attack

WASHINGTON (AP) — The operator of a major pipeline system that transports fuel across the East Coast said Saturday that it had been victimized by a ransomware attack and that it had halted all pipeline operations to deal with the threat.

Colonial Pipeline did not say what was demanded or by whom, but ransomware attacks are typically carried out by criminal hackers who seize data and demand a large payment in order to release it.

The attack on a pipeline operator, which says it delivers roughly 45% of all fuel consumed on the East Coast, underscored again the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure to cyberattacks both by criminal hackers and U.S. adversaries. It presents a new challenge for an administration still grappling with its response to major hacks from months ago, including a massive breach of government agencies and corporations for which the U.S. sanctioned Russia last month.

In this case, Colonial Pipeline said the ransomware attack Friday affected some of its information technology systems and that the company moved “proactively” to take certain systems online, halting pipeline operations.

The Alpharetta, Georgia-based company transports gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and home heating oil from refineries primarily located on the Gulf Coast through pipelines running from Texas to New Jersey.

The company said it hired a cybersecurity firm to investigate the nature and scope of the attack and has also contacted law enforcement and federal agencies.

In a statement late Friday, Colonial Pipeline said it was “taking steps to understand and resolve this issue,” focused primarily on ”the safe and efficient restoration of our service and our efforts to return to normal operation.” It said it was “working diligently to address this matter and to minimize disruption to our customers and those who rely on Colonial Pipeline.”

While there have long been fears about U.S. adversaries disrupting American energy suppliers, ransomware attacks by criminal syndicates are much more common and have been soaring lately.

Oil analyst Andy Lipow said the impact of the attack on fuel supplies and prices depends on how long the pipeline is down. An outage of one or two days would be minimal, he said, but an outage of five or six days could cause shortages and price hikes, particularly in an area stretching from central Alabama to the Washington, D.C., area.

Lipow said a key concern about a lengthy delay would be the supply of jet fuel needed to keep major airports operating, like those in Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina.

A leading expert in industrial control systems, Dragos CEO Robert Lee, said systems such as those that directly manage the pipeline’s operation have been increasingly connected to computer networks in the past decade.

But critical infrastructure companies in the energy and electricity industries also tend to have invested more in cybersecurity than other sectors. If Colonial’s shutdown was mostly precautionary — and it detected the ransomware attack early and was well-prepared — the impact may not be great.

Ransomware scrambles a victim organization’s data with encryption. The criminals leave instructions on infected computers for how to negotiate ransom payments and, once paid, provide software decryption keys.

Mike Chapple, teaching professor of IT, analytics and operations at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business and a former computer scientist with the National Security Agency, said systems that control pipelines should not be connected to the internet and vulnerable to cyber intrusions.

“The attacks were extremely sophisticated and they were able to defeat some pretty sophisticated security controls, or the right degree of security controls weren’t in place,” Chapple said.

Brian Bethune, a professor of applied economics at Boston College, also said the impact on consumer prices should be short-lived as long as the shutdown does not last for more than a week or two. “But it is an indication of how vulnerable our infrastructure is to these kinds of cyberattacks,” he said.

Bethune noted the shutdown is occurring at a time when energy prices have already been rising as the economy reopens further as pandemic restrictions are lifted. According to the AAA auto club, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has increased by four cents since Monday to $ 2.94.

Colonial Pipeline said it transports more than 100 million gallons of fuel daily, through a pipeline system spanning more than 5,500 miles.

The FBI and the White House’s National Security Council did not immediately return messages seeking comment. The federal Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency referred questions about the incident to the company.

A hacker’s botched attempt to poison the water supply of a small Florida city raised alarms about how vulnerable the nation’s critical infrastructure may be to attacks by more sophisticated intruders.

Anne Neuberger, the Biden administration’s deputy national security adviser for cybersecurity and emerging technology, said in an interview with The Associated Press in April that the government was undertaking a new effort to help electric utilities, water districts and other critical industries protect against potentially damaging cyberattacks. She said the goal was to ensure that control systems serving 50,000 or more Americans have the core technology to detect and block malicious cyber activity.

Since then, the White House has announced a 100-day initiative aimed at protecting the country’s electricity system from cyberattacks by encouraging owners and operators of power plants and electric utilities to improve their capabilities for identifying cyber threats to their networks. It includes concrete milestones for them to put technologies into use so they can spot and respond to intrusions in real time. The Justice Department has also announced a new task force dedicated to countering ransomware attacks.

Author: AP News
This post originally appeared on Snopes.com

Explainer-Will Colonial Pipeline shutdown spike U.S. pump prices?

Explainer-Will Colonial Pipeline shutdown spike U.S. pump prices?© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: E85 ethanol fuel is shown being pumped into a vehicle at a gas station selling alternative fuels in the town of Nevada, Iowa, December 6, 2007. REUTERS/Jason Reed/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The largest U.S. fuel pipeline system, Colonial Pipeline, shut down on Friday after a cyber attack, prompting worries about a spike in gasoline and diesel prices ahead of the peak summer driving season if the outage does not end soon.


The 5,500-mile system runs between Houston, Texas and Linden, New Jersey, and transports more that 2.5 million barrels of fuel every day. That’s about 45% of all fuel consumed on the heavily populated U.S. East Coast.


Prices at the pump are not expected to rise unless the outage lasts more than three days, experts say. But if it ends up being a long-term shutdown the impact could be significant given the size of the line.

“The challenges brought on by the Colonial Pipeline shutdown would only develop after a few days of outage,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

He warned drivers against panic buying. “What could make a temporary pipeline shutdown much worse is if Americans wrongly fear shortages,” he said.

The American Automobile Association said “The shutdown can have a large impact if it is prolonged.”


DeHaan said that if pump prices rise, the first impacts would likely be felt in the southeastern United States, a region that relies heavily on the pipeline network for its supply.

In the past, prolonged shutdowns of the Colonial system have caused gas prices to surge there. In Georgia, for example, gasoline rose by more than 30 cents a gallon in the wake of a leak in 2016 that required the line to shut for more than 10 days.

The rest of the populous U.S. East Coast has access to foreign supplies – typically shipped from Europe – in the event of supply disruptions. But relying on those can often lead to pump price increases too, since foreign shipments are typically more expensive than domestic supplies.


The line also supplies jet fuel to major airports across the United States and a prolonged outage could lead to disruptions in air traffic, if supply disruptions become severe.

The pipeline also provides fuel for the U.S. military across bases in the area it covers.


The Plantation Pipeline, operated by Kinder Morgan Inc (NYSE:), is smaller but serves some of the same regions that Colonial does.

Plantation is capable of delivering about 720,000 bpd of gasoline, jet fuel, diesel and biodiesel through its approximately 3,180-mile pipeline network, which originates in Louisiana and ends in the Washington, D.C. area.

Along the way, it serves various metropolitan areas, including Birmingham, Alabama; Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; and the Washington, D.C. area.

Transporting fuel from the Gulf Coast refinery hub by ship can be prohibitively expensive, because domestic shipments must be made on tankers that are built and operated by U.S. firms and crews under the Jones Act.

By Devika Krishna Kumar

Author: Reuters
This post originally appeared on Stock Market News

Canada is battling another pipeline cancellation by US

President Biden is coming under fire for his attack on oil and gas once again as Canada pleads to keep the cross-border Great Lakes oil pipeline open.

Canada is battling against the state of Michigan to keep the cross-border pipeline open as calls to enhance the joint response to climate change seem to be at odds with the two countries’ oil industries. To create meaningful policy change towards clean energy the US and Canada must work together to support their oil and gas sectors while establishing a clear strategy for the eventual movement away from fossil fuels. 

It is important to remember that the US relies heavily on Canada for much of its crude oil imports, consuming around 3.7 million barrels per day, or about 80% of Canada’s crude output.
Also on rt.com Canada scrambles to save Keystone XL pipeline expansion before Biden administration scraps it
Line 5 is supposed to close by May 13, according to Michigan’s governor, to eliminate the risk of a major leak. As much as 540,000-bpd oil and natural gas liquids pass through this line, making it essential for oil transportation between the two countries. However, the 70-year-old pipeline presents an extreme environmental risk due to its age. 

The pipeline currently provides energy to Michigan, Ontario and Quebec, to an area of around 40 million people, meaning the disruption caused by this closure would be significant.

This is the second major pipeline that has prompted a dispute between the US and Canada since President Biden came to office earlier this year. The first was the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline project in January. The pipeline was expected to transport 800,000 bpd of crude between Alberta and refineries in the US.

Read more on Oilprice.com: Three things that will drive oil prices in May

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed disappointment in this decision and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney called the decision a “gut punch” and an “insult”; threatening legal action to recover the $ 1.5 billion investment by Alberta for the project.

A significant proportion of jobs were lost in relation to the cancellation of Keystone, and the closing of line 5 threatens Canada’s oil and gas industry further. 

Officials from both sides have been formally discussing the potential decommissioning of the pipeline for months, mostly in joint conversations over climate change and policy cohesion. Yet Canada seems to have received little response on the matter from the White House to date. 
Also on rt.com US imports record volumes of Russian oil despite growing political tensions
If deemed necessary, Ottawa could go so far as to invoke the 1977 Transit Pipelines Treaty to stop the closure that would hinder the transit of Canadian oil. This would be the first case of this treaty being enacted.

Canadian Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan stated, “We have signaled very clearly that this is nonnegotiable,” In addition, “Line 5 is very different from Keystone XL and we fully support it, and we will defend it,” he said. “We made our case with Republicans as well as Democrats.”

Canadian Enbridge Inc. is instead suggesting that the infrastructure be updated to mitigate the potential for an oil spill by building a tunnel under Lake Michigan. The tunnel, Enbridge claims, would make vital oil transportation infrastructure safer, in line with Biden’s energy policy idea of ‘Build Back Better’. Enbridge is also criticising Michigan’s move as it will imply the need for thousands of long-haul vehicles to transport the oil that currently flows through the pipeline.
Also on rt.com Canada’s oil heartland wants to make US pay for scrapped Keystone XL pipeline
If the pipeline closure goes ahead it will have a detrimental effect on Canada’s oil and gas industry, which has already taken a hit from the cancellation of Keystone. It will also imply the halting of vital oil and gas imports to the American market. The question is whether Biden will respond to Enbridge’s counter proposal to invest in the existing infrastructure to mitigate the risk of a spill without hindering oil transportation between the two countries.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

Author: RT
This post originally appeared on RT Business News

Gas supplies via Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline may start this summer – State Duma

Russia may complete construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline already in summer, said Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Energy Pavel Zavalny. The pipeline aims to boost gas supplies to Germany and other European states.

“We hope very much that both construction and gas supply adjustment will be completed by the end of the summer, and that Germany will obtain the first batch of gas through this pipeline,” he said on Thursday during a meeting of Duma members with their colleagues from the Bundestag.

Zavalny added that the pipeline’s construction is speeding up, as Russia’s Akademik Cherskiy pipelaying vessel has joined the effort. “Hopefully, the second string, as well as the first string, will be laid no later than June, if foreign military ships do not interfere. We have already witnessed such precedents,” he said.
Also on rt.com Warships & submarines entering zone of Nord Stream 2 pipeline in ‘planned & prepared provocations’ to obstruct work, says operator
Last month, Gazprom Chairman Viktor Zubkov said that despite a series of delays caused by US sanctions, construction of the gas pipeline will be ‘unequivocally’ completed before the end of the year.

The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was designed to boost Russian gas supplies to Germany and other European countries by 55 billion cubic meters per year. It will connect Germany directly to Russia via the Baltic Sea. The pipeline is aimed at protecting Berlin’s energy security and also lowering the price by making the process less reliant on third countries transiting gas.

The US has been relentlessly seeking to block the completion of the pipeline, while imposing numerous packages of sanctions against companies involved in its construction, maintenance, insurance and certification, leading some to pull out altogether. Russia thus had to dispatch its own vessels to lay the final kilometers of the route.
Also on rt.com Despite several packages of US sanctions, Nord Stream 2 pipeline will ‘unequivocally’ be finished in 2021, says Gazprom chairman
Washington has repeatedly urged Europe to buy more US liquefied natural gas instead, claiming that the project will “undermine Europe’s overall energy security and stability.”

However, some have accused the Americans of opposing the pipeline for economic reasons, as the country looks to increase its exports of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to the continent.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

This article originally appeared on RT Business News