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US ambassador unleashes new sanctions threats against Nord Stream 2 participants

US ambassador unleashes new sanctions threats against Nord Stream 2 participants
Russian gas transported via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline may result in sanctions for European contributors, a US ambassador has warned as he targeted the project once again. Europe, however, is standing firm against US demands.

“From American point of view, the pipeline is not just transporting gas, but has an increased sanctions risk,” US envoy to Berlin and vocal critic of the project, Richard Grenell, told Focus news magazine.

The diplomat has previously made similar threats against firms involved in the multinational pipeline project. In a letter he sent to German companies in January, Grenell said that they should consider “the danger and “significant” sanctions risk the gas export pipeline poses. He later came under fire from media outlets and German politicians for his words.

The envoy’s renewed threats came just one day after US Energy Secretary Rick Perry claimed that Russian gas supplies are unreliable, while he boasted of the advantages of American liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments. He reportedly said that Washington’s supplies bring “freedom” to Europe, while further fueling the Trump administration’s mantra about Russian attempts to use gas exports to manipulate European foreign policy. 

The EU seems reluctant to ditch the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is to run from Russia to Germany along the Baltic Sea. On Friday, Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz reiterated his support for the project, according to local media, as the country’s OMV energy company takes part. 

Another investor of the project, French energy firm Engie, said that Europe should diversify its energy supplies, according to media reports. The company’s chief of Global LNG, Gordon Waters, stressed that US LNG is an addition, but not a replacement for Russian gas among other sources. 

Meanwhile, the hand-picked successor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, said that Berlin will support Nord Stream 2. Despite previously saying that she might not be the biggest fan of the project, she stressed that it “can’t be turned back.”

Also on rt.com No way back for Nord Stream 2 pipeline project – Germany

At least two German firms, Wintershall and Uniper, have signed financial agreements for the project, controlled by Russian energy giant Gazprom. Apart from above mentioned Engie and OMV, the list of European investors includes British-Dutch energy firm Royal Dutch Shell.

The pipeline is expected to be finished by the end of the year. After it is launched in full overdrive, it will double the existing pipeline’s capacity of 55 billion cubic meters annually.

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