Threats of sanctions from Washington against the Nord Stream 2 project are nothing more than attempts to oust Russia out of the European gas market usig non-market instruments, stated the head of Gazprom Export (Gazprom’s subsidiary) Elena Burmistrova, speaking at the Flame online conference.
“Unfortunately, there is an additional threat that is increasingly affecting our cooperation – a political confrontation in general and, in particular, the threat of U.S. sanctions against Nord Stream 2,” she said, as quoted by TASS.
According to Burmistrova, U.S. suppliers of liquefied natural gas (LNG) have distablized the European market and have not been able to stabilize it. “Now the U.S. is trying to oust Russia using non-market tools,” the top manager said.
The United States has consistently opposed the Nord Stream 2 project. In December 2019, Washington imposed the first sanctions against companies participating in the construction of the pipeline. At the same time, the Swiss company Allseas, which was subcontracted to lay pipes for Nord Stream 2, withdrew all its vessels from the construction zone in the Baltic Sea.
In June this year, U.S. senators drafted new sanctions against the pipeline. In particular, these are sanctions against any vessels involved in laying pipes for the project, as well as companies that provide insurance for ships, their maintenance or installation of special equipment on them. In July this year, the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said the project was a tool to “abuse and expand Europe’s dependence on energy supplies.”
In Russia, on the contrary, they argue that the project is commercial and should serve Europe’s energy security. According to Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, the project will promote competition.
Disputes around Nord Stream 2 intensified after the poisoning in late August of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, who was transported to Berlin for treatment. Three independent European laboratories later determined that Navalny had been poisoned by a substance from the Novichok group. Merkel and other European leaders did not rule out sanctions against Russia, including against Nord Stream 2.
The Nord Stream-2 project envisages the construction of two pipelines along the Baltic Sea to supply Russian gas to Germany.