UPDATE 2: Russia to finish Nord Stream-2 despite US sanctions
BERLIN, Feb 10 (PRIME) – Pipeline Nord Stream-2 will be completed despite resistance of other states, primarily the U.S., Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Monday, adding that Russia sees strong support of other countries partners in the project.
“Let me remind you that a decision on its construction was made in 2012 jointly with the European consumers. Five foreign companies participate in the project: Engie, OMV, Shell, Uniper and Wintershall. That’s why there is understanding we are together responsible for its fastest fulfillment. And we see strong support of the European partners,” he said.
The Nord Stream-2 project envisages construction of two lines of a natural gas pipeline with an annual capacity of up to 55 billion cubic meters, running from the Russian shore to Germany under the Baltic Sea. Russian gas giant Gazprom builds the pipeline together with Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall DEA, Royal Dutch Shell, Austria’s OMV, and France’s Engie.
In December 2019, the builder of the Nord Stream-2 suspended operations due to the threat of U.S. sanctions and withdrew all its vessels engaged in laying the pipeline from the Baltic Sea after U.S. President Donald Trump signed a defense budget envisaging spending on counteraction against Russia in various areas including sanctions against the Nord Stream-2.
Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Pankin also said that the U.S. sanctions will be useless in stopping the project.
“We are sure that construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline will be finished successfully in spite of the sanction pressure that the U.S. exerts. Russia’s Foreign Ministry will support that to the maximum possible extent,” he told PRIME.
Inclusion of the sanction articles against the Nord Stream-2 and the TurkStream pipelines in the U.S. defense budget for 2020 is direct interference in operations of the European businesses.
“The goal is not about providing assistance to the European energy security, which is only being strengthened by Russian export gas project. Their goal is to enforce the U.S. liquefied natural as on the European market. It is a blatant example of unfair competition,” he said.
Chairman of the Munich Security Conference Wolfgang Ischinger said that Nord Stream-2 will be discussed at the conference scheduled for Thursday–Saturday, both on stage and on the sidelines said on Monday.
“Of course, the Nord Stream-2 topic will play the role not only on the stage, during the events of the main and additional programs, but on the sidelines as well,” Ischinger said.
The official said that the attempt of the U.S. to stop Nord Stream-2 is economically pointless and resembles behavior of a bull in a china shop from a political point of view.
“My opinion is very simple. Regardless of whether Nord Stream-2 is good or not so good, or harmful in terms of minimal dependence of Western Europe on whomever, most of all Russia, I think that it is wrong to stop a project in which billions are invested, a project conceived more than several decades ago, ” Ischinger said.
On February 4, 2020, German business newspaper Handelsblatt reported that the U.S. Congress might approve new sanctions against the Nord Stream-2 in February or March targeting investors and the companies that receive gas through the pipeline if Russia starts trying to finish the pipe on its own.