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The United States is currently considering additional sanctions on the Russia-led gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2 which is planned to bring Russian gas to Germany via the Baltic Sea, outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, told German business daily Handelsblatt in an interview.
U.S. lawmakers have sought to pass a bill to levy sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 project, which the United States sees as further undermining Europe’s energy security by giving Russian gas giant Gazprom another pipeline to ship its natural gas to European markets.
Germany, the end point of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, looks at the economic benefits of the project, while the U.S., including President Donald Trump, have been threatening sanctions on the project and even on Germany over its support for the project.
At the end of 2019, the U.S. included in its massive defense bill for 2020 sanctions on companies helping Gazprom to complete Nord Stream 2.
Due to the sanctions, which forced Western pipe-laying vessel operators to suspend activities on the project in the Baltic Sea, the completion of the construction of Nord Stream 2 is being delayed from the original completion date, 2020.
Russia is now using its own vessels to complete the pipeline laying.
But the U.S. is considering further sanctions to derail the completion and the commissioning of the Nord Stream 2 project, Ambassador Grenell told Handelsblatt this week.
“Further sanctions meet non-partisan approval. Despite the election campaign, legislation could go ahead quickly,” Grenell said.
It’s not clear what form possible new sanctions could take. According to Handelsblatt, one option could be to threaten companies helping the project with trade tariffs, while another options discussed in Washington could be to impose sanctions on buyers of Russian gas.
Commenting on the U.S. plan for more sanctions on Nord Stream 2, Nord Stream 2 AG spokesperson Jens Muller told Russian news agency TASS:
“Any such threat with sanctions is an unlawful discrimination against European companies.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.
The Europeans know that US opposition to Nord Stream 2 is motivated by self-interest and has nothing to do with undermining Europe’s energy security.
With Putin and Angela Merkel behind the pipeline, no amount of US sanctions can stop its completion.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London