U.S. senators call for cancellation of Nord Stream 2 pipeline due to Russia’s recent ‘aggressive actions’

Over 40 U.S. senators have called for the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 offshore gas pipeline as a response to Russian actions in the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov. 

Pipelay vessel Pioneering Spirit entered the Baltic Sea on December 12, 2018 via Denmark’s Great Belt Bridge on its journey to join the Nord Stream 2 construction fleet / Image by Nord Stream AG

U.S. Senators Ron Johnson, Richard Durbin, and 39 of their colleagues introduced a resolution calling for a prompt multinational freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea and the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in response to “Russia’s recent aggressive actions” in the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov.

Earlier this month the U.S. House of Representatives said that “Nord Stream II is a drastic step backwards for European energy security and United States interests.” The House called upon European governments to reject the Nord Stream II project and urged President Trump “to use all available means to support European energy security through a policy of reducing reliance on the Russia Federation.”

In addition, the European Parliament members last week also called for the Nord Stream 2 project to be canceled, citing security reasons. This call against the project was announced on Wednesday, December 12 during the evaluation of the latest developments related to the EU-Ukraine association agreement, which entered into force in 2017.

Commenting on the new resolution on Wednesday, December 19 Sen. Johnson said: “The United States and our allies need to rapidly counter Russia’s military aggression in the Kerch Strait with strong and resolute action.”

“Assembling a multinational freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea to help ensure safe passage into the Sea of Azov, combined with cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is exactly the kind of response Putin needs to see.”

Sen. Durbin stated: “The recent provocative military actions from Russia and revelations about its extensive cyber disinformation campaigns in the U.S. are warnings to the rest of the world that Vladimir Putin has no intention of stopping his aggressive campaign against Western democracies or Ukraine.”

Sen. Inhofe commented: “Ukraine is the front line of Vladimir Putin’s struggle against the free world and, last month, Russia’s attack on Ukrainian ships near the Kerch Strait marked a dangerous escalation of that conflict. We have to respond, and respond with strength. Weakness will only provoke further aggression. The United States must enhance our lethal aid to Ukraine, especially to enhance its maritime capabilities. And working together with our European allies, we should conduct freedom of navigation operations in the Black Sea to deter further bullying. Ukraine has never asked Americans or Europeans to do their fighting for them. They have asked only that we give them the tools they need to defend themselves and their country. Ukrainians need and deserve our help. This resolution is the right step.”

According to the last week’s statement by the European Parliament, the MEPs said: “With Ukraine playing a crucial role in the European energy supply network, MEPs condemn the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which bypasses Ukraine, “as it is a political project that poses a threat to European energy security”.

The pipeline, operated by Russian Gazprom’s subsidiary Nord Stream 2 AG, is designed as a twin pipeline with two parallel 48 inch lines, roughly 1,200 kilometers long, each starting from south-west of St Petersburg and ending at German coast, Greifswald. Nord Stream 2’s natural gas pipelines will have the capacity to transport 55 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Russian gas a year to the EU, for at least 50 years.

The project has been seen by some as a threat to the EU energy security, making the union vulnerable to reliance on Russian gas, and also bypass Ukraine in moving Russian gas to Europe. To alleviate similar concerns, the EU has been working on increasing imports of LNG from the U.S. As for Ukraine, it has been said that the Nord Stream 2 would lead to the country losing $3 billion a year in transit fees.

Meanwhile, Allseas-owned giant Pioneering Spirit vessel recently entered the Baltic Sea via the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark to join the Nord Stream 2 construction fleet.

Read the full text of the resolution here

Offshore Energy Today Staff