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The United States has warned companies helping Russia to complete the Nord Stream 2 and the TurkStream 2 natural gas pipelines 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 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 at a press briefing on Wednesday.
“This action puts investments or other activities that are related to these Russian energy export pipelines at risk of U.S. sanctions. 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,” Secretary Pompeo said.
The projects are the “Kremlin’s key tools to exploit and expand European dependence on Russian energy supplies, tools that undermine Ukraine by cutting off gas transiting that critical democracy, a tool that ultimately undermines transatlantic security,” he added, reiterating the U.S. view that the Nord Stream 2 project is further undermining Europe’s energy security by giving Russian gas giant Gazprom another pipeline to ship its natural gas to European markets.
The U.S. has already imposed some sanctions on the project, which saw Western vessel and technology providers pull out of the project in December 2019. Following the announcement of the sanctions, Switzerland-based offshore pipelay and subsea construction company Allseas immediately suspended Nord Stream 2 pipelay activities.
Earlier this month, a Russian vessel capable of completing the pipelaying for Nord Stream 2 left a German port and entered Danish waters where the last section of the controversial pipeline has yet to be completed. This occurred several days after the Danish Energy Agency allowed Nord Stream 2 AG to use pipelaying vessels with anchors for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipelines. With an anchored Russian vessel, Gazprom could complete the construction of the pipeline in Danish waters.
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.
Moreover, the Europeans realize that US objection to the construction of Nord Stream 2 has far less to do with US concern about the EU energy security and far more to do about selling its LNG at the expense of Russian-piped gas. The remaining 7% of Nord Steam 2 will be completed in the next few months.
Not since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 have political relations between the US and its key European allies particularly Germany been nearly so toxic. It speaks volumes about the state of affairs between the United States and its closest ally the EU when President Trump threatens German Chancellor Angela Merkel with sanctions against its country if she didn’t drop its support for Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. He was so angered by her stubborn support of the gas pipeline that he decided to withdraw 9,300 US troops from Germany without even the diplomatic courtesy of advising her of his decision. He later invited Mrs Merkel for discussions in Washington DC but she turned down his invitation.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London