The USA has once again imposed sanctions in the dispute over the Nord Stream pipeline project. This time it hit the laying ships.
The US House of Representatives has launched sanctions against companies in connection with the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline. The politicians of both parties approved with a large majority a package of laws, into which the sanctions law had been inserted. It is expected that the Senate will pass the bill before the session break at the end of next week. The White House has already made it clear that President Donald Trump will sign the legislative package.
Shortly before completion, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project is therefore yet again threatened with delays.
Above all, the US sanctions are directed against the operators of the laying vessels, companies from Switzerland and Italy. The Italian company has already finished its work but the Swiss company Allseas is now faced with the question of whether it can continue its part. The threat of sanctions is on the horizon - and Allseas also has concrete interests on the US market.
Nord Stream 2 will start supplying gas from Russia to Germany next year, bypassing Poland and Ukraine. According to the Nord Stream 2 consortium, more than 2100 kilometers of the double line have been laid in the Baltic Sea to date, with around 300 kilometers still missing. The US Congress wants to prevent the completion of the project. Whether this will succeed is questionable. But the sanctions could at least delay it. The US argues that Germany would be dependent on Russia for the pipeline. This estimation is supported by many eastern European countries but also by the EU Commission.
For others, like Michael Harms, Managing Director of the Ost-Ausschuss der Deutschen Wirtschaft e.V., the US sanctions pose a threat to Europe's energy security. "Nord Stream 2 is an important project not only for Germany and Russia, but for Europe as a whole," he says. It compensates for the reduced gas production in Europe and "contributes as a bridging technology to the fact that we can better position ourselves in Europe with regard to the climate challenges", explains Harms. In the long term, European industry and consumers will be affected by the US sanctions. Also, the US has important economic interests in preventing the Nord Stream 2 as it is described in the latest ptj commentary.