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The U.S. is broadening the sanctions against service providers and those funding vessels involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2 in a fresh attempt to prevent the Russia-led gas pipeline project from completing, the U.S. Department of State said in new guidance on Tuesday.
The sanctions are a follow-up to U.S. sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 project from December 2019, which resulted in Western vessel and technology providers pulling out of the project.
Following the announcement of the sanctions last December, Switzerland-based offshore pipelay and subsea construction company Allseas immediately suspended Nord Stream 2 pipelay activities.
Now the United States is including in the sanctions companies “providing services or facilities for upgrades or installation of equipment for those vessels, or funding for upgrades or installation of equipment for those vessels,” according to the latest guidance.
“We continue to call on Russia to cease using its energy resources for coercive purposes,” the State Department said.
“Russia uses its energy export pipelines to create national and regional dependencies on Russian energy supplies, leveraging these dependencies to expand its political, economic, and military influence, weaken European security, and undermine U.S. national security and foreign policy interests. These pipelines also reduce European energy diversification, and hence weaken European energy security,” the State Department noted.
The United States, several European countries including the Baltic states and Poland, as well as the European Union (EU), have expressed concern about Russia using gas sales and its gas monopoly Gazprom as a political tool.
In July, the United States warned companies helping Russia to complete Nord Stream 2 that they should ‘get out now’ or face consequences, as the Trump Administration steps up efforts to stop the construction of the controversial Russia-led pipeline in Europe.
“It’s a clear warning to companies aiding and abetting Russia’s malign influence projects will not be tolerated. Get out now, or risk the consequences,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in mid-July.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com