In yet another move by the US government to prevent the 120-km pipe-laying completion of Nord Stream 2 on the floor of the Baltic, sanctions have been included in the annual U.S. defense policy bill.
The sanctions in the compromise National Defense Authorization Act between lawmakers in the House and Senate would penalize companies facilitating the construction of the pipeline, including ships helping operations to lay pipelines or moving rock formations on the sea bed.
They also target companies providing insurance or secondary insurance for its construction and certification for the pipeline in Denmark. The bill would become law only after being passed by both chambers in Congress and signed by President Donald Trump.
Backers of these measures hope they will prevent Gazprom from using the Akademik Cherskiy, a Russian pipe-laying vessel, to finish a final 120 km stretch of the project in Danish waters.
The $11 billion Nord Stream 2, led by Russia’s state energy company Gazprom, would double its existing pipeline capacity to take gas undersea to Europe via Germany. Tellingly it would bypass Ukraine, which depends on lucrative transit fees.
Gazprom and Germany say Nord Stream 2 is purely a commercial project. Gas demand in Germany is growing as it cuts dependence on nuclear and coal power.