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30 Nov 2020, 15:22
Charlotte Nijhuis

Certification company suspends Nord Stream 2 work after US sanction threats

Focus Online / Reuters

The completion of the controversial natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 between Russia and Germany is facing ever more hurdles. After the United States government threatened to impose sanctions, DNV-GL, an independent energy certification and assessment company for ships and offshore projects, announced the suspension of certification work for vessels, news website Focus Online writes. "We are of the opinion that DNV-GL's activities in risk management for equipped vessels supervising the Nord Stream 2 project are subject to US sanctions. Therefore, DNV-GL will no longer provide services that may be incompatible with the PEESA law," the company told Reuters.  Construction of the nearly finished 2,460 km gas pipeline was halted after the US enacted a sanctions bill (PEESA) in December 2019. DNV-GL plays an important role in the completion of the pipeline. The company inspected the equipment of the Russian special purpose vessel "Akademik Chersky", which is to lay the missing piece of the pipeline, Focus writes. In principle, ships do not have to be classified and certified by companies like DNV-GL. However, without the corresponding certificate, use in certain territorial waters is not permitted. Certification is not only needed for the ships, but also for the pipeline itself in order to go into operation.

As of yet, no sanctions have been imposed under PEESA, but US lawmakers are working on a tightening of the sanctions law. Germany has been debating a stop to the pipeline project, which has been contested by domestic stakeholders, several of the country's neighbours, as well as the US government. Proponents of the project argue the pipeline is a commercial investment that is key to Europe's supply security as the EU's natural gas production declines.

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