US senators call for more Nord Stream 2 gas link sanctions

Author: Diane Pallardy

2020/06/05

LONDON (ICIS)--Several US senators have called for more sanctions against Nord Stream 2, a natural gas pipeline that will double Russian direct export capacity to Germany.

On 4 June Republican senators Ted Cruz, John Barrasso, Tom Cotton and Rom Johnson, along with Democrat senator Jeanne Shaheen, proposed to add sanctions against:

- vessels engaged in all pipe-laying

- facilitators providing those vessels

- insurance, port, or tethering service providers for the vessels

The document also calls for sanctions on persons providing services or facilities for:

- technology upgrades or installation of welding equipment

- retrofitting of vessels

- testing inspection or certification necessary for the operation of Nord Stream 2.

The proposed bill is currently under the jurisdiction of the senate foreign relations committee.

There is no date for when it will be considered for a vote by the committee yet.

If it passes the committee it will go to the full senate floor, then to the house of representatives.

ORIGINAL SANCTIONS

Sanctions introduced in December last year forced two Swiss pipe-laying vessels contracted to build the project to stop work.

There are two Russian pipe-layers that could finish the project now anchored at the German port of Mukhran, a logistics hub where pipes for Nord Stream 2 are sent.

The pipeline could be finished by the end of this year or in the first quarter of 2021, Russian president Vladimir Putin said in January following a meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel.

At the time Merkel said: “The project can be implemented despite the US sanctions. We will continue to support this project as we did in the past.”

Several members of the German parliament’s energy committee spoke out against the US sanctions .