The fate of the troubled $11 billion Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project could very well be decided over the next several weeks in Washington, D.C., with lobbyists on both sides of the case ramping up their activities.
On the one hand, Gazprom's Nord Stream 2 AG has paid lobbyists at BGR Group, Roberti Global LLC, and Sweeney & Associates a combined $1.69 million during the first half of this year, according to Senate records. That is more than double the amount during the same period a year ago, and more than all of 2018, the first full year the project lobbied in Washington.
On the other, lobbyists for Nord Stream 2’s foreign opponents have registered under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), a law passed in 1938 to limit the influence of Germany and Russia in U.S. politics. Under FARA, lobbyists must disclose every meeting with U.S. officials, along with the materials they distribute. Yorktown Solutions LLC, for example, which lobbies for Ukraine's state-owned Naftogaz and its partner companies against the pipeline, is among them, according to FARA records.
Andriy Kobolyev, Naftogaz's chief executive told Reuters in an email that company representatives travel to Washington about once a month to provide updates on the status of Nord Stream 2 and discuss how to stop the pipeline.
Exactly who the lobbyists for Nord Stream's completion meet with is a mystery because they have not registered with the Department of Justice under FARA.
Austria's OMV, German firms Uniper and Wintershall, Royal Dutch Shell and France's Engie provide half of Nord Stream's long-term financing.