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25 Apr, 2019 14:47

Berlin’s ambassador in Washington attempts to defend Russian energy majors from US sanctions

Berlin’s ambassador in Washington attempts to defend Russian energy majors from US sanctions

The German Ambassador to the United States has asked the US Congress to hold back new sanctions against two of Russia’s biggest gas corporations, as further penalties may put energy security of the European Union in jeopardy.

In March, Emily Haber wrote a letter to several Members of Congress, asking them to stop threatening German ventures with Gazprom and Novatek with further sanctions, reports Germany’s biggest tabloid Bild, citing papers received from an unnamed source.

“We are concerned that Congress is currently considering imposing additional energy sanctions on Russia,” the ambassador wrote. “Our countries should liaise closely when it comes to designing energy sanctions that may be imposed on Russia.”

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The top diplomat stressed that the European Union had approved the amendments to the EU Gas Directive with all the member-states and reached an accord with the US on the issue of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project led by Russian energy giant Gazprom.

Haber also said that all of the countries expressing critical views of the project gave their consent to the new directive with the Nord Stream consortium now expected to confront the new legal situation.

“Any additional steps taken by the US against the project would be counterproductive and undermine the European agreement reached on this difficult issue involving energy security policy,” the ambassador wrote.

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The diplomat expressed deep concerns over the participation of Russia’s biggest independent producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) Novatek in the building of a new terminal in the German coastal city of Rostock, which is scheduled to start operating in 2022. A minority stake being held by the company reportedly turns the entire project into a target for the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA). The act is aimed at sanctioning Russian individuals, cyber operations and LNG export facilities.

Penalties against Novatek will potentially “impair the acceptance of LNG imports in Germany and significantly impede the development of LNG import capacity,” according to Haber.

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