U.S. mulls sanctions against Nord Stream 2 participants

Cornelia Mascio
Giugno 14, 2019

The US administration is considering the possibility of using unilateral sanctions against participants of the Nord Stream 2 project, though it admits that the participating countries are free to build the pipeline, President Donald Trump told reporters during the talks with the Polish leader Andrzej Duda on Wednesday.

"[It's] something that I've been looking at and I'm thinking about", the USA president said, answering a reporter's question about using sanctions to block the project.

"We're protecting Germany from Russian Federation and Russia is getting billions and billions of dollars from Germany", Trump told reporters at an appearance with Polish President Andrzej Duda at the White House.

Eastern European, Nordic and Baltic Sea countries see the pipeline as increasing Moscow's economic grip on Europe.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, aimed at doubling the existing pipeline's capacity of 55 billion cubic meters annually, is a joint venture of Russia's Gazprom and five European energy majors.

Any sanctions on European companies involved in the project could increase friction with countries including Germany, Austria and France.

"The visit to Russian Federation did not bring any new significant changes in recent rhetoric to the table", said Capital Markets analyst Radoslav Tupý.

The US has been gradually boosting LNG shipments to Europe, which have been up 272 percent since last July. So far, Berlin has been shrugging off the criticism, stressing that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would only contribute to the diversity of the gas supply to Europe.

Earlier on Wednesday at the White House, Polish Oil and Gas Company (PGNiG) signed a deal to purchase 1.5 million metric tons of LNG per year from US company Venture Global LNG starting in 2023, bringing its total planned purchases from the company to 3.5 million metric tons per year. Trump and the Department of Energy said sales outlined in the contract are worth about $8 billion. Poland also signed an agreement with USA officials on civilian nuclear power cooperation.

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