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The hostile U.S. position on the Gazprom-led Nord Stream 2 pipeline project is a breach of international law, according to the majority of EU members, German daily Die Welt reported today.
According to the report, the European Union communicated a sharp note of protest against U.S. interference in the construction of the pipeline to Washington. The note was supported by 24 of the EU's 27 members, Reuters reported, citing Die Welt.
Reuters also quoted a statement it received from the U.S. embassy in Germany, which said, "The United States must act to address the threat to our national security and foreign policy interests," noting, however, that Washington would like to continue cooperating with the EU rather than resort to sanctions to enforce these interests.
However, the EU's communication to Washington stated that "We are highly concerned about the increasing use of sanctions by the U.S. against European companies and interests," and that "The EU considers the extraterritorial use of sanctions as a breach of international law."
The United States last month warned the companies helping Russia to complete the Nord Stream 2 and the TurkStream 2 natural gas pipelines that they should 'get out now' or face the consequences, as the Trump Administration steps up efforts to stop the construction of the controversial Russia-led pipelines in Europe.
The U.S. Department of State is updating its sanctions guidance under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, CAATSA, to include Nord Stream 2 and the second line of TurkStream 2, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in mid-July.
Five European companies are working on Nord Stream 2 with Gazprom, including Shell, OMV, Engie, Wintershall DEA, and Uniper. Each of these is funding the project by some $1.12 billion, the total equal to half its cost estimated at $11.2 billion.
The twin pipe of Nord Stream will carry an additional 55 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to Europe and, more specifically, Germany, whose gas hunger is growing as it shuts down coal and nuclear power plants.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com