Will €1 Billion End the Nord Stream 2 Logjam?

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Will €1 Billion End the Nord Stream 2 Logjam?

Fri, 09/18/2020 - 10:45
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A man in a business suit offers money (copyright by Shutterstock/Oleksandrum)
A man in a business suit offers money (copyright by Shutterstock/Oleksandrum)

Behind the scenes of the controversial and still in play Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, fervid, high level talks are going on between the German and American governments to find a solution that all sides can live with. To facilitate getting to yes the German government has offered to spend up to 1 billion euro in the construction of two deep water LNG terminals in Brunsbüttel and Wilhelmshaven along the North Sea coast in northwestern Germany.  These terminals would presumably be used to process imported fracked shale gas from the United States.

To this end the German Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) has put on 7 August the offer of up to 1 billion euros in writing to Steven Mnuchin, the American Treasury Secretary.  The quid pro quo is that the Americans cease actions that prevent the further construction of Nord Stream 2, now with all but approximately 160-km left to build.

On 24/25 September the heads of EU governments will meet in Brussels to deliberate on the future on the Nordstream pipeline. After the attempt on 20 August in Russia to poison opposition leader Alexei Navalny with a highly toxic nerve agent Novichok, the clamor within Germany and especially among members of the CDU to stop Nord Stream 2 reached a crescendo. Scholz's offer to the Americans seems to belie the feeling among some of his government colleagues that the Germans should walk away from the project.  Further complicating the matter is the consensus among environmentalists in Germany that building LNG terminals in the country would increase the consumption of fossil fuels when the exigencies of climate change dictate less consumption of hydrocarbons.

One reader to the German newspaper Die Zeit, which carried the above story, said the offer of 1 billion had the character of protection money a merchant would pay to a Mafia Don.

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