The dispute over the Baltic Sea pipeline project Nord Stream 2 has been smoldering for quite some time, but now the US is apparently putting its threat of sanctions into action. The US House of Representatives has launched sanctions on companies related to Nord Stream 2.
MEPs voted by a large majority on Wednesday evening (local time) for a legislative package on the defense budget into which the Sanctions Act had been added.
It is expected that the Senate will pass the legislative package before the beginning of the session break at the end of next week. The White House has already made it clear that US President Donald Trump will sign the package.
Nord Stream 2 will deliver gas from Russia to Germany from next year, bypassing Poland and Ukraine. So far, according to the Nord Stream 2 consortium more than 2100 kilometers of double strand were laid in the Baltic Sea, about 300 kilometers are still missing. The US Congress wants to prevent the completion of the project. The sanctions could at least delay it. In addition, other US measures could possibly lead to gasoline shortages in Germany.
The US argues that Germany would go with the pipeline depending on Russia. The "Law for the Protection of Europe's Energy Security" provides for sanctions against the operator companies of the special purpose vessels, with which the pipes for the pipeline are laid through the Baltic Sea. Also TurkStream - a Russian pipeline to bring gas through the Black Sea to Turkey - is affected. Likewise, sanctions apply to any follow-up projects to Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream.
Half of the project is being paid from Russia
The law provides for the US Secretary of State, in consultation with the Minister of Finance, to report to Congress within 60 days which ships are being used and which companies have provided these ships.
Against managers of the companies and their major shareholders with controlling majority, entry bans should be imposed in the US and existing visas revoked. Transactions of those concerned with their property or business interests in the US should be blocked.
Behind the project is the Russian state-owned Gazprom