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Russia’s natural gas exports to Germany via the Nord Stream pipeline crossing the Baltic Sea totalled 59.2 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2021, its operator said on Monday, in line with record volumes a year earlier.

Moscow hopes to double the route with the recently finished Nord Stream 2 pipeline which requires EU and German regulatory approval to begin operations.

The current pipeline already accounts for around a third of Russia’s gas exports to Europe.

Volumes last year topped the pipeline’s annual nameplate capacity of 55 bcm. Russian gas exporter Gazprom has said the pipeline is able to transport more thanks to some technological peculiarities.

The West has accused Russia of withholding gas exports to Europe recently in order to drive up prices and pressure regulators to approve Nord Stream 2. Russia and Gazprom have denied this.

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