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The United States will make sure the Nord Stream 2 project does not move forward if Russia invades Ukraine, a spokesperson for the State Department told media.
"I want to be very clear: if Russia invades Ukraine one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward," Ned Price told NPR. "I'm not going to get into the specifics. We will work with Germany to ensure it does not move forward."
"Gas is not currently flowing through Nord Stream 2, and that's important because it means that Nord Stream 2 right now is not operational," Price also said. "It is leverage for us. It is leverage for Germany. It is leverage for the trans-Atlantic community because gas is not flowing."
However, gas may begin flowing before too long, after Gazprom said on Thursday that it had set up a subsidiary in Germany as required under German legislation for the pipeline to get the final green light from the government.
Named Gas for Europe GmbH, the subsidiary will be headquartered in the city of Schwerin and will own and operate the part of the pipeline that passes German territory as well as related infrastructure, Reuters reported.
Germany's energy and transport regulator said that the certification process for Nord Strem 2 will resume when the parent company transfers all the main assets and human resources to the new subsidiary.
According to Uniper, one of the investors in the Nord Stream 2 project, gas should be flowing by the start of the next heating season later this year.
Nord Stream 2 has become one of the most controversial energy projects in Europe not just for political reasons, with some European governments arguing that it would deepen the continent's dependence on Russian gas, but for environmental reasons as well, as the EU tries to move beyond fossil fuels.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.