US Congress Prepares Extra Sanctions In Effort To Kill Off Nord Stream 2

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US Congress Prepares Extra Sanctions In Effort To Kill Off Nord Stream 2

Gas pipelines from Russia to Europe

The US has stepped up its effort to kill off the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, with the announcement of a bill presented to the Congress that would expand sanctions against companies participating in the project. The latest US machinations pose a great challenge for the EU as a whole as well as for individual member States, which must decide whether to comply with the latest US dictates – and thereby lock themselves into dependency on much more expensive and distant gas suppliers for many years – or to defy the US actions and face the prospect of a major sanctions war with the US.

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Thursday introduced a bill proposing to retroactively expand the scope of sanctions enacted in December to include any company that will or has provided insurance, equipment and technology services, port facilities, tethering, site surveying, or even the placing of rocks on the Gazprom-owned infrastructure project. It also applies to the TurkStream pipeline from Russia to Turkey.

The December sanctions targeted pipe-laying ships, causing Swiss-Dutch company Allseas to pull out of the project just before Christmas.

“The original sanctions legislation … was tremendously effective at thwarting the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline,” New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen said in a statement. “We must now continue that effort and ensure that Russia does not surreptitiously extend its malign influence throughout Europe.”

An article in Russian outlet RBC last week reported that the pipe-laying ship most likely to resume construction on Nord Stream 2, Akademik Cherskiy, was removed from the Gazprom fleet’s official website. It is now listed in Russia’s ship registration database as belonging to the Samara Thermal Energy Property Fund — a private joint venture between two regional Gazprom subsidiaries.

Gazprom Flot’s apparent divestment of the ship is widely perceived as an attempt to shield itself from sanctions.

The 1,240 kilometre-long pipeline — meant to double the amount of gas shipped from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea to 110 billion cubic meters per year — has two parallel sections of pipe, each about 75 kilometres long, left to be laid in Danish and German waters.

The project is fiercely opposed by the US, Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic countries, supposedly on the basis that it as an instrument of Russian geopolitical influence. However, their opposition also has a major economic component, as the US is attempting to capture a large part of the market for the supply of gas that would be left vacant if Nord Stream 2 is not completed for itself (at a much higher cost for EU members), and Poland and the Ukraine in particular fear that Russia may reduce its shipments of gas through their countries once Nord Stream 2 is completed.

Apart from the higher cost of alternative US gas supplies, many European energy companies have invested heavily in the project and would suffer enormous losses if they abandon the project when it is so close to completion.

“Western European energy companies from Austria, Germany, France and the Netherlands have committed to invest almost €1 billion each in the project, and more than 1,000 companies from 25 countries are fully committed to seeing the project completed,” said Sebastian Sass, spokesperson for Nord Stream 2.

When Allseas abandoned the project, Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed in January that his country could finish the job alone by year’s end.

Akademik Cherskiy sailed from the Sea of Japan to the Baltic, arriving in May. By mid-May, aerial photos showed sections of pipe being moved at the Nord Stream 2 logistics base off the German port of Mukran. It is expected that the final pipe-laying will take three to four months.

However, doubts remain over whether the Cherskiy can complete the project under the terms of Nord Stream 2’s construction permit from the Danish Energy Agency, which would be certain to face a series of legal challenges if the sanctions are ineffective.

If Washington passes the legislation— or actually imposes the December sanctions against the main Gazprom entity, which it has so far refrained from doing — that would put huge pressure on the EU to respond given the company supplies some 40 percent of Europe’s natural gas.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, affirmed last year, “The EU does not recognise the extraterritorial application of U.S. sanctions, which it considers to be contrary to international law.”

“We should remember that in energy there is mutual dependency,” Borrell said last month at Germany’s annual ambassadors’ conference. “We need a smart balance between firmness and sanctions with Russia with a careful attempt at engagement in selective areas.” LINK

Nonetheless, the EU has repeatedly given in to US demands in the past. A question submitted on 23 March by French MEP Emmanuel Maurel asking the Commission what it intends to do to protect European companies involved in the project has so far gone unanswered.

Meanwhile, the transit of Russian gas through Poland is set to continue despite the geopolitical disputes, threats and other obstacles. A gas transit deal between Russia and Poland concluded in the 1990s expired on May 17, as Warsaw amends its energy regulations to comply with European Union rules and seeks to reduce its dependence on Russian fuel.

On May 17 Poland’s gas grid operator started auctioning off capacity on the Yamal pipeline that carries Russian gas from the northern Yamal peninsula to Poland and on to Germany. The pipeline through Poland has annual capacity of 33 billion cubic metres (bcm).

“The new mechanism entered into force on May 17 and there is a client who uses the new mechanism. One can assume that it is Gazprom Export, which has been using this route from Russia to Germany. It booked 90% of capacity for the third quarter and on Monday booked capacity for June,” Piotr Naimski told Reuters.

On July 6 an annual auction will be held for pipeline capacity between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021 on the EU’s pipelines.

Although the Nord Stream-2 undersea pipeline expected was expected to be completed early next year, construction has faced many delays because of US sanctions. In the meantime, it is expected that Russia will continue to transport gas through Poland as before:

“Taking into account a potential delay in Nord Stream-2, it seems that gas transit via Yamal will be continued. Most likely Yamal will be used in the same or very similar extent as it has been up to date,” Naimski also said.

Gazprom’s spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov told Reuters last week that gas would still transit through Poland, but did not go into details about whether transit fees might rise.

Nord Stream 2 is meant to carry 55 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea when it is completed in 2019, doubling the capacity of the existing Nord Stream pipeline.

Germany has recently begun linking Nord Stream 2 with continued Ukrainian gas transit.

“After Nord Stream 2 is finished, the role of Ukraine as a transit state will have to remain because it is a strategic point for us and Germany is prepared to participate in that process,” Merkel said.

Putin also addressed U.S. opposition to the pipeline project, saying it is a way for President Donald Trump “to promote the interests of U.S. producers, trying to push for the sale of U.S. shale gas.”

However he said that American liquefied natural gas is 30 percent more expensive than Russian pipeline gas… LINK

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occupybacon

comment image

shylockracy

Isn’t Abramovich an ISraeli citizen and partner of Gazprom? Call this an US antisemitic attack. Ludicrous how Putin wants to oppose Zioterrorist corporatist foreign policy while seeking economic partnership with Zioterrorist corporatist regimes.

verner

abramovich sold his share of sibneft to gazprom and it’s now named gazprom nefte (I seem to remember) and stayed on Putin’s good side. he became an israeli citizen when england started to look more closely at the so called oligarchs living in the uk. I also think he’s been trying to sell Chelsea FC but the asking price’s been a bit much.

chris chuba

How is this different from a classic Mafia extortion racket, you have to buy all of your Mozzerella from here or else. What kills me is that we insist that we alone uphold a ‘rules based world order’ and the morons in our MSM believe and report it that way.

OMG China pressured the NBA to post a comment on twitter by threatening not to broadcast their games and this shows the danger of their rising economic power, they can bend U.S. corporations to their will. People who should know better like Tucker Carlson, sweat while they report this. But we threaten entire continents over basic energy needs. Really we are the dumbest, most arrogant people on earth.

Tommy Jensen

There is a difference. I see most of China’s anger justified, as most of the MSM critic on China are smear and false accusations.
You can say US teach the world how to behave: Exploit any leverage to bully the weaker part.
Still China has another way.
If you are falsely accused, who would not be angry and defend yourself with the means you have?

<>

No loyalty to EU countries, either you are part of NATO and that means you work with the U.S, or you join Russia’s bloc and become their bitches. You can’t have it both ways, expect the U.S to do most of the job in NATO and also get cheap oil / gas from Russia. Europeans are so hypocritical, Germany cried that the U.S decided to withdraw 9500 troops, but what does Germany give to the U.S? nothing.

<>

So what? Am I supposed to love Russia for it? both leaderships in both countries are shit, but atleast here Bibi will go to jail.

cechas vodobenikov

obviously without the nearly 2 million Russians—scientists, engineers…Israel would revert to 3rd world status…and many are returning To Russia—disgusted w Israeli racism aimed at the Palestinians

Rhodium 10

Russian gas transit through Ukraine only is useful( transit fees) to arm Ukropnazis state armed forces in its fight vs Russia!..

Anduin Lothar

Germans cant live w/o Russian gas, Russians cant live w/o German cars, nothing will come out of this…

cechas vodobenikov

vast majority of vehicles in Russia r Russian, not German—although you observe some, German, Swedish, Japanese, Korean—not many…the balance of trade w Germany shows a huge surplus on the Russian side—true with all nations

verner

the yankee-twats can’t allow europe’s most efficient economy to get out from under, it must remain a serf under washington dc’s rules and must therefore be brought into line. a breakout of germany will have severe consequences for the dimwits in washington dc and further unrest from the rest of the european reluctant subservient nations can be expected. and that is something of a hit below the waterline of the dimwits ship on the way down, as we speak. countries like the baltic minnows and poland and dumber than dumb norway will remain in the dimwit’s fold but for the rest of europe, a new independence is looming and will be hard to stop once under way

Dick Von Dast'Ard

Why Germany just doesn’t NATEXIT, I don’t know. Bloody pointless alliance run by what is now looking increasingly like a failed state.

hvaiallverden

Yeah, the UssA really know how to whip their bitches, Germany is becoming more and more pathetic, and their MSM bonkers, and instead of showing at least some balls they just crawl behind the desk and drools something about Putin, ugh, the BallTicks are an lost case, an troika is totally irrelevant nations whom even their own people dont want to stay in and whats left, hu…. bitches, stupid corrupted bitches, and have to buy sympathy since nobody really cares about them any more, let them drool, morons, and they are even dumber than what could possibly imagine like the casy Polaks whom is halusinating something about past glorys/gorys and like the Luthuanians, they have detached them from reality years ago, and now, well, like the Germs, increasingly destroying their own bedside just to please Uncle Scam, yeah, I have nothing left but contempt, and I am aware of Russia, but the idiots havent left the cold war, and stil keeps their insane perseptions alive while the rest of the world moves on, the Orks are in an leauge of their own when it comes to destroy their own nation, god, you are indeed f…. idiots, the world is changing, the ones belife in European economic superiority is evaporating, all due to just been dumb bitches for the Imperial banana republic.
What can you expect from Slavs and Khazarsian bastards, they never left their caves, and have just dug them self further in, stupid breeds.

Yeah, let them bleed to death, dumb f….
Their missery is 100% self inflicted, like mascocists, I wounder what snapped, they are like blind sheeps.
Sine they are so brain dead they belive Uncle Scam is there to help them, Uncle Scam is just like the Mafia, and this nations are destroying their own economy on top of it, what an pack of loosers, pfhy.

peace

Tommy Jensen

America is the land of the free and also the land of the free market.

In order to secure freedom and avoid Mafia extortion rackets from shithole- and dictatorship countries, US is helping the European Continent to maintain free market conditions thus providing security and US freedom LNGas to the happy and grateful citizens of Europe.

And this is not the only occasion that we arrived with help to Europe, saving millions of lives and securing our human values.

cechas vodobenikov

nice try Tammy— your police state military dictatorship oligarchy is a “contactless society populated by automatons (like 5th century Rome)….a similarly soulless, politically corrupt, everybody for themselves society”Arthur Koestler
as Juan Cole, CIA consultant Univ Michigan professor recent wrote, “the most corrupt nation on earth”
LOL

Tommy Jensen

Im a little impressed how precise you can profile the factual situation :-D.

cechas vodobenikov

freedom hating stupified amerikans believe fascism is freedom, ignorance is strength—these barbaric primitives believe any ruling class lies they r told to believe—having murdered 30 million civilized peoples in their fascist invasions since WWII—attempting to steal and enslave people on all continents—of course this is why amerikans are despised in all nations except Canada and perhaps Australia/NZ—colonies of the USA…amerikans are so incompetent that they require invasions, tariffs, sanctions—unable to compete …expected in an empire near collapse
the CIA comments by Tammy —using other aliases, Jackie,etc are one of many proofs