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Washington is preparing more sanctions against the Gazprom-led Nord Stream-2 natural gas pipeline project, Reuters reported, citing sources from the Trump administration.
"We've been getting body blow on body blow to this, and now we're in the process of driving a stake through the project heart," one of the sources told Reuters.
The news comes a day after construction of the pipeline restarted in Danish waters after a suspension that lasted almost a year, again because of U.S. sanctions.
The Trump administration claims that Nord Stream-2 will deepen Europe's reliance on Russian gas, giving Moscow greater influence in the political affairs of the continent. The claim gas its roots in the Russian-Ukrainian gas conflict from a few years ago, which resulted in Gazprom temporarily turning the tap off for its neighbor for unpaid gas bills. The conflict worried Europe that if it wanted, Russia could turn the tap off for all the countries it supplies.
Russia, for its part, says the U.S. sanctions are hybrid warfare as Washington wants to push its own gas—in liquefied form—on the European market.
"Let's take the sanctions against Nord Stream - it is a pure hybrid war that goes on like a war accompanied by unfair competition," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told media earlier this month.
The Nord Stream-2 project is a 1,230-km pipeline that will double the capacity of the current Nord Stream pipe to a total 110 billion cu m, most of them to be consumed by Germany. Europe's biggest economy is the staunchest supporter of the project despite political disagreements with Moscow.
Germany has set itself ambitious emissions-cutting goals that involve the closure of all coal-fired plants as well as nuclear plants. As a result, its reliance on natural gas has increased, and it needs cheap supplies to keep the lights on.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.
The real solution to Russia's use of energy and energy revenue is for the world to burn less fossil fuel, in general. Fortunately, good signs in this direction are starting to appear. I'm encouraged to see the bipartisan direction taken in the proposed U.S. pandemic stimulus bill, also discussed on OilPrice.
The Nord Stream 2 will be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2021for two major reasons. The first is that contrary to US claims, it is a viable project that will ensure the security of gas supplies to the European Union (EU). The second reason is that it is supported by President Putin who is known for his steely determination and by the Iron lady of Europe, Angela Merkel.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London