U.S. Senators are set to announce this week a bill to expand sanctions on the Russia-led natural gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2, Senate aides told Reuters, which has seen a draft of the new bill.
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.
This week’s new bill – which needs to pass in both chambers of Congress and to be signed by President Trump to become law – will expand sanctions to companies involved in all pipe-laying activities. The bill also targets companies providing insurance or reinsurance for the vessels and firms helping the vessels operate including those providing welding equipment, retrofitting, or tethering, according to the bill seen by Reuters.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz, one of the sponsors of the new bill, has said that it “makes clear those involved with vessels installing the pipeline will face crippling and immediate sanctions,” as carried by Reuters.
Last week, outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, said that the United States was considering additional sanctions on Nord Stream 2 which is planned to bring Russian gas to Germany via the Baltic Sea.
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.