The Trump administration has taken a number of steps in its attempts to stop the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, designed to cover Europe's growing natural gas needs at costs lower than buying American LNG, as POTUS earlier suggested that the EU should do.
Proponents of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline should not place too much hope in Democrat Joe Biden making a U-turn on Trump's sanctions policy against the pipeline, should the former be elected president, the German Bild newspaper said. In fact, Biden might be even tougher on the project, seeking to "bury" it at all costs, for example by sanctioning insurance and certification companies, something Washington has reportedly already been mulling for some time.
The media outlet cites an aide to former US President Barack Obama, Benjamin Schmitt, who opined that both Republicans and Democrats oppose construction of the joint European-Russian project. Former Secretary-General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, echoed Schmitt's stance, and expressed regret that potential future US sanctions might hurt Dutch certification company Det Norske Veritas.
Energy security expert Alan Riley said that sanctions may only stall the project, but Biden would seek to end it for good. Riley suggested that the Democrat might come up with a comprehensive security package aiming to replace Russian gas with green energy – something that Germany and other European states hope to achieve by the middle of this century.
US Campaign Against Nord Stream 2
The Nord Stream 2 is the joint project of Russian Gazprom and five European energy giants which funded some 950 million euro, or about half of the projected cost of the pipeline. When completed, the pipeline is expected to pump up to 55 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to Europe.
The Trump administration, however, strongly opposes the project, insisting that the EU must buy more expensive American or Israeli liquefied natural gas (LNG) to diversify supplies and become less reliant on Moscow for fossil fuels. European countries supporting the project, such as Germany, argue that the Nord Stream 2 is a purely economic project and have promised that European energy supplies are well-diversified.
Apparently deaf to the EU assurances, the White House introduced its first sanctions against Nord Stream 2 in December 2019, forcing the pipe-laying company Allseas to recall its ship and other assets from construction. After Gazprom replaced the ship with its own vessel, the Trump administration introduced additional legislation in October 2020, this time targeting companies which supply the equipment, and the funding for the ships working on the pipeline construction, which is close to completion.
The Russian pipe-laying ship ‘Akademik Cherskiy’ which is on deployment for the further construction of the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline is moored at the port of Mukran on the island of Ruegen, Germany, Tuesday, 8 September 2020.
According to media reports, the White House plans additional sanctions against companies that either provide insurance for or certification to the Russian ships finalizing the pipeline. Trump's actions were strongly condemned by several EU nations, who vowed an appropriate and coordinated response to US sanctions against European business in relation to the Nord Stream 2./Sputniknews