Germany won’t need additional gas flows this season, giving Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin another reason to bide their time on the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
After two warm winters and the coronavirus pandemic, demand for the fuel used for heat and power generation is sagging across the continent. Supplies remain abundant, with U.S. cargoes of liquefied natural gas returning to Europe. Benchmark gas prices remain below their 10-year average at the start of the period for peak consumption.
Those metrics may inform how Putin and Merkel respond to Poland’s decision last week to slap a record $7.6 billion fine on the pipeline’s sponsor, Gazprom PJSC. Berlin was silent on the matter, and Russia said only that Poland aligned itself with the U.S. on the issue. For now, there’s no reason to rush ahead with the long-delayed 1,230-kilometer link under