Germany said on Tuesday that it could nix the Nord Stream 2 pipeline should Russia invade Ukraine, Reuters has reported.
Fears that Russia’s troop movement in the area could spark a war have intensified in recent days. But an important bargaining chip remains in the hands of Germany—if it is willing to use it.
That bargaining chip is Nord Stream 2—the controversial natural gas pipeline project that could alleviate a fair chunk of Europe’s energy woes. And Europe is looking pretty desperate in that regard.
Nevertheless, Germany has said that it could halt the project—a move that would be as much at Germany’s expense as it would be Russia’s.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz indicated on Tuesday that if Russia does attack Ukraine, Germany’s response could include stopping the pipeline, adding that it was “clear that there will be a high price to pay and that everything will have to be discussed should there be a military intervention in Ukraine.”
Russia contends that Nord Stream 2 will carry essential natural gas to Europe, and as such, is a lifeline to Europe’s security.
At the end of December, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the pipeline was loaded with gas and ready to deliver. But Germany pushed back its decision on the pipeline to July 2022, citing regulatory hurdles that Nord Stream 2 AG had yet to make—namely, that the operator of the pipeline must be incorporated in Germany.
While Germany says it is prepared to do whatever it takes to keep Russia from invading Ukraine, the U.S. Senate voted this week against levying sanctions on Nord Stream 2, despite some senators’ insistence that Russia is using the pipeline and natural gas flows—or lack thereof—as blackmail.
High natural gas prices continue to be a major headache for Europe, with end-users floundering under the high prices and several power providers going under.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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