Photo: Akademik Cherskiy vessel will work on the Nord Stream 2 project; Photo source: Gazprom Flot

U.S. warns entities involved in Nord Stream 2 to abandon work

The U.S. State Department on Thursday reiterated its warning that any entity involved in Russia’s Nord Stream 2 offshore pipeline project risks U.S. sanctions and should immediately abandon work on the pipeline.

The U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said on Thursday: “As the President has said, Nord Stream 2 is a bad deal — for Germany, for Ukraine, and for our Central and Eastern European allies and partners”.

Blinken noted that the Department is tracking efforts to complete the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and is evaluating information regarding entities that appear to be involved.

“As multiple U.S. administrations have made clear, this pipeline is a Russian geopolitical project intended to divide Europe and weaken European energy security. The sanctions legislation Congress passed in 2019 and expanded in 2020 has significant support from a bipartisan Congressional majority”, Blinken said.

Blinken also added that the Biden Administration is committed to complying with that legislation.

“The Department reiterates its warning that any entity involved in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline risks U.S. sanctions and should immediately abandon work on the pipeline”, he concluded.

As reported in February 2021, U.S. oilfield services provider Baker Hughes, AXA Group, and 16 other companies have already abandoned work on the Gazprom-led Nord Stream 2 project and will not be sanctioned by the U.S.

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Russian energy giant Gazprom is building the pipeline to transport its gas to Germany through the Baltic Sea, with hopes to finish it this year.

The U.S. believes the project will increase Russia’s influence and leverage over Europe and that bypassing Ukraine will deprive it of lucrative transit fees.

Despite growing political pressure, the construction is resuming with plans for a second Russian pipe-laying vessel, the Akademik Cherskiy, to join the project in Danish waters.

The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project is led by Russian giant Gazprom with half of the funding coming from five European partners – Germany’s Uniper, BASF’s Wintershall, Anglo-Dutch Shell, Austria’s OMV, and Engie.

The project is designed as two parallel 48-inch lines, roughly 1,200 kilometres long, each starting southwest of St. Petersburg and ending at German coast, Greifswald.

The gas pipelines will have the capacity to transport 55 billion cubic meters of Russian gas a year to the EU, for at least 50 years.