According to the Bloomberg agency, the House of Representatives and Senate reached an agreement on expanding sanctions on the contentious Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. The new restrictions may make it impossible to finish the pipe. According to an analyst from a German think tank, this development may give Germany an opportunity to withdraw from the project.
“In contrast to other attempts made this year, this one may actually bring an end to Nord Stream 2,” Sarah Pagung from the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), claims. “The bill targets companies that certify and insure Nord Stream 2. They provide certification to the ships that lay pipes in the Danish waters, where 160 km of pipes still need to be laid. Russia has two ships docked at the Mukran port in Germany, which are being prepared to finish the construction of the pipe after Switzerland’s Allseas had withdrawn due to last year’s U.S. sanctions. The vessels need to receive certification and have to be insured to operate in Danish waters,” she adds.
“If the U.S. Congress adopts the sanctions, which is possible, Nord Stream 2 will need certification and insurance from companies, which will be able to take on the risk of U.S. sanctions, and will be approved by the Danish regulator. It will be difficult to find such a combination,” the German analyst warns. “This is why the proposed legislation may actually mean the real end of Nord Stream 2, especially that it is also causing complications for the operation of the pipe, even if it is somehow finished,” she claims.
Sarah Pagung also commented on how Germany may react. “Nord Stream 2 has been a subject of an intense debate, recently because of Navalny. If the investment failed due to sanctions and not Germany’s intervention, it would make it easier to get out of this situation altogether. Germany could take the U.S. to court and defend the project on paper, but at the same time come to terms with the fact it is blocked,” the DGAP analyst claims. She also reminds that the proposal for widening sanctions against the contentious project was added to the military spending bill in 2019 as well. “Despite the hard stance the Republicans and Democrats took against Russia, they may not agree to individual sanctions this year, because of the fact that bills are being blocked and Congress is polarized,” she suggests. However, the proposition in question is an across-the-aisle initiative.
BiznesAlert.pl has reported that according to Bloomberg, the negotiators in both chambers of the U.S. Congress reached an agreement on the military spending bill, which needs to be adopted by the end of the year. So far the U.S. sanctions managed to freeze the Nord Stream 2 project, which still needs to lay a few dozen kilometers of pipes, but the Russian Akademik Cherskiy ship that is docked in Germany still has not set out to finish the works in the Danish waters, even though it had received a formal permit to do so.