New sanctions against Nord Stream 2 looming – media report
United States lawmakers could introduce new sanctions against the natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 to further delay the current construction in the Baltic Sea, diplomatic sources in Washington, D.C., told German business daily Handelsblatt. Should Gazprom try to lay the missing kilometres of pipeline, the US Congress is prepared to introduce a new set of sanctions, which could target European investors of the project that would provide Russia with a second direct connection to Germany after Nord Stream, writes Handelsblatt. Aside from German energy companies Uniper and Wintershall Dea, French Engie, Austrian OMV and British-Dutch Shell are investing in Nord Stream 2. The sanctions could come as soon as February or March, Handelsblatt adds.
The US Congress introduced sanctions on companies laying the pipelines in the Baltic Sea, effectively delaying completion by several months at least. Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised the move. The pipeline, which will directly connect Russia and Germany, is nearing completion. The German government generally supports the highly contentious endeavour and maintains that it is mainly a business project. Proponents argue the pipeline is a commercial investment that is key to Europe's supply security, while opponents – including many other EU member states as well as some German politicians across political parties – have criticised Nord Stream 2 on environmental, geopolitical and security grounds.