Friday, July 17, 2020

U.S. Threatens New Sanctions On Russian Gas Projects: ‘Get Out Now’

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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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