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6 Feb, 2020 13:41

Nord Stream 2 investors pledge to meet their commitments despite renewed threats of US sanctions

Nord Stream 2 investors pledge to meet their commitments despite renewed threats of US sanctions

European companies have already invested billions of dollars in the Nord Stream 2 underwater pipeline from Russia to Germany, and are not going to ditch the project despite the threat of new US sanctions.

Washington could be preparing to target the massive Russian-European energy project again after last year’s restrictions failed to completely stop it. US lawmakers want to approve another sanctions bill, this time imposing restrictions on the European investors involved in it or the potential buyers of the gas, delivered via the route after its completion, the German business outlet Handelsblatt reported earlier this week citing its sources. 

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“We know that the Americans are determined to prevent Nord Stream 2​​​,” Christine Bossak, a spokesperson for Uniper, one of the lenders of the project, told Sputnik on Thursday. “We have undertaken to provide financing for up to one tenth of the project costs and, under the circumstances, we will meet these obligations in accordance with contractual and legal requirements.”

According to an agreement signed in 2017, some 50 percent of financing for the Nord Stream 2 is being provided by European energy majors – France’s Engie, Austria's OMV, Denmark's Shell, as well as Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall. Thus the firms are set to pay nearly $1 billion each to cover half of the total €9.5 billion (nearly $10.5 billion) cost of the pipeline.

Meanwhile another lender, OMV, said that it spent €113 million ($124 million) in 2019, while its total contribution to the Nord Stream 2 amounts to about €700 million ($770 million). While the the oil and gas company's commitments are almost fulfilled, its CEO, Rainer Seele, warned that the US sanctions could spike gas prices in Europe and disrupt its energy supplies.

“We see this as an economic project that is important both for the security of supply and competitiveness in Europe,” the company said.

In December, US President Donald Trump signed the massive National Defense Authorization Act that envisions sanctions against companies involved in the construction of two major Russian gas pipelines, Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream. While the law gave the firms 30 days to quit the projects or face US penalties, Swiss-Dutch Allseas opted to withdraw its vessels immediately, leaving the last part of the route unfinished. However, Russia has the ships to complete the project on its own, and the pipeline is now set to become operational by the end of this year or in the beginning of 2021.

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