US Warns Of Sanctions Risk To Germany-Russia Gas Pipeline

Frederick Owens
May 18, 2018

The U.S. stepped up its opposition to the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, saying the project raises security concerns and that it could draw U.S. sanctions, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy diplomacy Sandra Oudkirk said.

"Any pipeline project - and there are many multiple pipeline projects in the world that are potentially covered by this sanctions authority - is in an elevated position of sanctions risk", Oudkirk said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said today (10 April) that plans for a controversial second underwater pipeline to bring gas from Russian Federation could not go forward without Ukrainian involvement in overland transit.

The Thirsk and Malton MP said: "Despite the fact oil and gas exports make up 70% of Russia's worldwide trade, these are not now covered under the European Union sanction regime due to the high reliance of the European Union on Russian gas exports".

The warning came as a consortium of European companies, led by Russia's Gazprom, announced the start of preparatory works for constructing the pipeline.

Note that the United States of America and the countries of Eastern Europe are opposed to the construction of the Nord stream - 2, and believe that its implementation will lead to an actual degradation of the Ukrainian gas transportation system and the strengthening of the Russian Federation in the gas market of the EU.

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The official added that Washington also has security concerns connected to the project, as it provides Moscow with an opportunity to install undersea surveillance equipment in the Baltic Sea, which is seen as a sensitive military region.

Oudkirk rejected suggestions that Washington is opposing the pipeline to help U.S. liquefied natural gas exports.

Poland, Denmark and Ukraine also oppose the project, arguing that it will increase the EU's dependency on Russian gas and Europe should instead focus on diversifying its energy resources.

Oudkirk said Washington supported the planned Danish-Polish Baltic Pipe because it would diversify sources and routes.

Gazprom's Western partners are energy companies Uniper, Wintershall, Engie, Austria's OMV and Anglo-Dutch group Shell.

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