Russian President Vladimir Putin recently met with United States President Joe Biden at the US-Russia summit to discuss issues between the two countries.

The results of the political talk suggest the construction of Russia's controversial pipeline Nord Stream 2. The project is scheduled to be finished by the end of the year. When the pipeline is fully constructed, it is expected to transfer a massive 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year from Russia to Germany. The plant will carry the gas through the Baltic Sea to the rest of Europe. The endeavor is estimated to give Russia an annual income of $3.2 billion.

Since the passing of U.S. sanctions in 2019, Russia suspended the construction and funding of the plant for more than a year. In 2020, American officials expanded the sanctions, further hampering the plant's construction.

Global Bargaining Chip

Some Russian experts believe Biden was using the sanctions to bargain with Putin and pressure the Russian leader regarding several issues, such as the occupied territories in Ukraine and Georgia, support for Belarus' dictatorial regime, human rights violations in Russia, and the poisoning, imprisonment, and outlawing of political opposition, Yahoo News reported.

However, the White House lifted the sanctions on Nord Stream 2 one month before the summit amid criticism from a few US legislators and European partners. Several European gas companies and Russian company Gazprom, which is the largest gas supplier worldwide, are leading the joint-venture responsible for the construction of the pipeline.

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Putin will gain many benefits from the pipeline once it is finished. One of the foremost advantages is having a deeper influence on Europe by increasing their dependence on Russian energy. For decades, the Russian leader has relied on natural gas to assert global dominance. The new project gives Putin a direct and powerful line of control in Western Europe.

The new project came after a similar announcement that Putin made earlier this month regarding the launching of the Amur gas processing plant. The project will supply China with natural gas using the Power of Siberia pipeline. It also allows Russia to increase its share of helium in the global market, Reuters reported.

Natural Gas Advantage

Gazprom will also be responsible for handling the far eastern Russian plant, which is expected to process 42 billion cubic meters of gas annually. The plant will also be able to generate up to 60 million cubic meters of helium, about one million tons of propane, roughly 500,000 tons of butane, and 2.5 million tons of ethane.

Officials expect the plant to be fully operational and running at full capacity in 2025. It would become one of the largest gas processing plants worldwide. Russian authorities will export the majority of the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) the plant produces, which comes out to about 1.3 million tons annually.

Putin will also be exporting the helium the plant produces to supply needs in the medical field and other sectors. Authorities will transport the gas inside special-purpose cryogenic containers at a hub at the Pacific port of Vladivostok.

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