Polish Briefing 19 September, 2018 9:00 am   
Editorial staff

Polish Briefing: US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 depend on transit through Ukraine

What goes on in Poland on the 19th of September

US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 depend on transit through Ukraine

The potential US sanctions for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will be primarily related to the transit of Russian gas through the territory of Ukraine. In an interview with Kommersant, US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry also stated that another reason is the “philosophical issue of a limited number of gas suppliers to Europe”.

– The Member States of the European Union are sensitive to these issues. […] In turn, countries such as Germany and probably Austria have a different position. However, the representatives of the other countries with whom I have talked want an alternative to Nord Stream 2, whether in the form of the Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline (TAP) or LNG from the United States – said the interlocutor of the newspaper.

In his opinion, the statement that Americans’ opposition to Nord Stream 2 is an attempt to sell larger LNG volumes to Europe is nonsense. Referring to the journalist’s remark that the capacity of TAP (10 billion cubic meters) is much lower compared to Nord Stream 2 (55 billion cubic meters), he reiterated that it should not be said that it is only about LNG.

Transit through Ukraine

He also stated that “Russia’s further steps related to the transit of gas through Ukraine are very important.” The journalist of the Russian newspaper recalled Vladimir Putin’s statement that Moscow would keep the transit through the Ukrainian corridor. However, in response, Perry replied: “We will see”. In 2014, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said that the company would provide the necessary volumes of supplies to Ukraine, but transit to Europe would be carried out via alternative routes, and the role of Ukraine as a transit state would fall to zero. However, after four years he denied that whenever Russia wanted to do so, and the transit could be maintained at the level of 10-15 billion cubic meters, which is still enough for the transmission capacity of Ukrainian gas pipelines at the level of over 170 billion cubic meters annually means killing them.

In an interview with Kommersant, Rick Perry also reminded that both in Germany and Austria the view prevails that the US is trying to stop Nord Stream 2 in order to take Gazprom’s share of the European gas market. According to the American secretary, “26 other European Union countries are of a different opinion” and “they want American LNG”.

The US is against Nord Stream 2

According to Peskov, Russia wants to get out of the crisis in relations with the United States, “but we will not cry if it does not meet with a similar reaction from Washington.” The United States has repeatedly emphasized its opposition to the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. The US maintains its position that it threatens Europe’s energy security and is another tool for politicizing Russia’s gas supply. It is also worth mentioning that Washington supports Europe’s efforts to diversify sources of blue gas supply – including projects such as the Southern Gas Corridor and Baltic Pipe. They are to reduce the dependence of Europe on the supply of Russian gas.

At the end of May, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo allowed for the imposition of further sanctions that could strike Nord Stream 2 partners. Although in August 2017, US President Donald Trump signed a law that could punish any company cooperating with the Russians, did not use the possibility of imposing sanctions on entities involved in Nord Stream 2.