WirtschaftsWoche: U.S. found a new reason to slow down “Nord Stream-2”

The problem of completing the Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream-2 has put Germany between a hammer and anvil. On the one hand, the US and Baltic states are putting pressure on the authorities, on the other hand, Berlin wants to be able to supply itself with low-cost gas from Russia, according to an article by the German newspaper WirtschaftsWoche. The indomitable desire of American politicians to stop the project at all costs complicates the situation.

Another initiative to disrupt the construction of the gas pipeline from Russia to Germany was voiced by an American senator-republican Ted Cruz. He said that the project appears to be capable of destroying the environment. According to the senator, the damage to ecology is caused by anchoring technology for laying large diameter pipes, the author of the article writes.

It is still unclear how and in what time Cruz is going to promote his prohibitive initiatives.

However, the U.S. sanctions against Nord Stream-2, which were introduced in late 2019, have already resulted in the project being delayed. The U.S. bans were imposed on the pipe-laying company – the Swiss company Allseas, after which it withdrew from further work, when the end of the route remained 150 kilometers, the material notes.
At present, Russia has sent its own vessel Akademik Chersky to the Baltic Sea, but the timing of its arrival at the installation site is unknown. In addition, it needs to be upgraded to the current project.

Another serious problem concerns the work of Nord Stream-2 already after the expected commissioning.

For example, the German Federal Grid Agency is to make a very important decision for Nord Stream 2 in the next few weeks – whether or not the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has to comply with EU regulations. These are the rules of the Energy Charter, which requires the owner of the pipeline to let other suppliers into the pipeline.
In the event that the owners of a Russian pipeline are required to comply with European energy regulations, other suppliers must be allowed to supply their own gas to the pipeline. However, given the transit nature of the Russian-German gas pipeline, this is practically impossible.

On the one hand, the German regulator must take into account the opinion of the USA, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, which are categorically against the appearance of a new hydrocarbon supplier on the European energy market. In their opinion, the project allegedly makes the EU dependent on Russian gas. Therefore, the exemption from Energy Charter rules threatens to worsen relations between Berlin and a number of countries.

On the other hand, Germany understands very well that if the pipeline is completed, the country will receive inexpensive gas with delivery almost “to the door”. It is possible that the new prohibitive sanctions announced by Senator Cruz are psychological pressure on Germany in general and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s gas project supporter in particular.