As if there were not enough existing obstacles thrown in Nordstream 2's way (see Pipeline Technology Journal, 27 May 2020), Senators Ted Cruz and Jeanne Shaheen announced a bill today on Capitol Hill to expand sanctions on the troubled gas pipeline to prevent its completion and thus end what they see as Moscow's plan to raise its economic and political influence in Germany and other European countries.
The Protecting Europe's Energy Security Clarification Act follows legislation signed by President Donald Trump last year, which prompted Swiss-Dutch company Allseas to halt undersea work, delaying the project.
What distinguishes this new legislation is its focus on companies involved in pipe-laying activities and parties providing underwriting services, insurance or reinsurance on the project.
Cruz said it "makes clear those involved with vessels installing the pipeline will face crippling and immediate sanctions."
The bill must be passed by both chambers of Congress and signed by Trump. It adds sanctions on companies providing services or facilities for the vessels, including welding equipment, retrofitting or tethering of the ships.
The Trump administration has touted exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) as an alternative to Russian supplies, calling it "freedom gas." U.S. LNG producers, like the overall energy industry, are struggling due to sagging global demand.