(Recasts, adds minister comments, background)
MILAN, Oct 9 (Reuters) - The Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will transport Russian gas to Germany will be completed on time even if new sanctions are imposed on Moscow, Russia’s energy minister said on Tuesday.
“We hope there will be no additional sanctions but if there are the project will be completed anyway,” Alexander Novak said on the sidelines of an energy conference in Milan.
Nord Stream 2 AG, which will double the existing Nord Stream 1 capacity, is led by Russian gas giant Gazprom and financed by five Western companies.
The United States opposes the project and President Donald Trump has accused Germany of being a “captive” of Russia due to its energy reliance, saying it was wrong to support the Baltic gas pipeline.
Divisions exist among EU member states over whether to do more business with Moscow despite its military incursions in Ukraine and Syria.
“Everything is on time and as of today the first commercial gas will be ready by the end of 2019,” Novak said.
Russia is keen to press ahead with Nord Stream 2 which will bypass traditional routes through Ukraine.
Asked about the Gazprom-led Turkish Stream project to pipe Russian gas via the Black Sea to southern and southeast Europe, Novak said that was also on track for first commercial gas by end-2019.
“The second marine-based part of the project is 85 percent complete,” he said.
At the conference on Tuesday, Novak had a bilateral meeting with EDF’s Italian energy unit Edison.
Last year, Gazprom signed an agreement with Edison and Greece’s state-controlled gas company DEPA to work on building a southern route for Russian gas supplies from Russia to Europe, across Turkey and Greece to Italy.
“We agreed to continue this,” Novak said.
Later on Tuesday an Edison spokeswoman confirmed the meeting.
“It was a positive and warm meeting that we thank the minister for, ahead of the planned visit by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to Moscow later this month,” she said.
Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, editing by Agnieszka Flak and Jane Merriman