Spy Project: US threatens with “Nord Stream-2” sanctions


Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Sandra Oudkirk said that the US can consider sanctions against the “Nord Stream – 2”. This is reported by Bloomberg. A State Department spokesman spoke in Berlin and said that any energy projects in Russia could be penalized in accordance with the Law on Countering America’s Enemies through Sanctions (CAATSA). Accordingly, companies that cooperate with the Russian Federation in these projects are at risk under restrictions.
“This means that any pipeline project, and in the world a large number of pipelines that could potentially be considered under this law, is at risk of sanctions,” Oudkirk said.
The US opposes the gas pipeline project because it believes that its construction will lead to increased dependence of Europe on Russian gas (Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic countries also oppose the “second stream” with the same arguments). However, in addition to this standard message, the official of the State Department found a new argument.
Oudkirk noted that thanks to the “North Stream-2”, Russia will have the opportunity to install equipment for tracking along the entire pipeline.
Recall that the route of the “spy gas pipeline” runs along the bottom of the Baltic Sea from the Russian to the German coast through the territorial waters of Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
Complete sets of permits for gas pipeline laying have already been received from regulators in Germany and Finland. Denmark previously stated that it may not give permission, but in this case there is an alternative route.
In the middle of May the positive conclusion of the Russian Glavgosexpertiza was received, and in Germany preparatory work for laying pipes in the Greifswald Bay began.
Procedures for obtaining permits in other countries along the pipeline route – Russia, Sweden and Denmark – are on schedule, noted in the company operator of the Nord Stream 2 AG project. The company expects to receive the remaining permits in the coming months. The beginning of construction is planned for 2018.
The only shareholder of Nord Stream 2 AG is Gazprom . But the project has a pool of investors, with whom a financing agreement has been signed. This is the French ENGIE, the Austrian OMV, the Anglo-Dutch Shell and the German Uniper and Wintershall. It is they who are de facto threatened by the American authorities.
Earlier in an interview with Gazeta.ru, Wintershall board member Tilo Wieland noted that the Nord Stream-2 project participants planned to provide funding for the project by 2019 and are still fully within the schedule.
“Last year, partners invested in the project for € 324 million, this year funding is planned at the same level. In 2019, it is planned to attract bank financing, which will allow partners to return the invested funds, “he noted.
According to Viland, Nord Stream AG is also negotiating with export financing agencies, such as COFACE in France, SACE in Italy or Euler Hermes in Germany.
Returning to the speech of Sandra Oudkirk, it is worth noting that she called the “false” accusations that the US is opposing the “North Stream-2” because of the desire to move Russia in the European gas market.
Previously, this Americans were accused by all senior officials of Russia. In particular, the Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev stated that certain provisions of CAATSA are aimed at promoting American Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in the EU.
“If, in the final analysis, individual instruments of this law are used, this will primarily hit European business, in the interests of EU citizens, will create tension in the market of third countries, because new projects will not be implemented, some other changes may occur , including prices, “he said.
AT The European Union are already ready to make concessions to the US in the gas issue. Chapter The European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday said that the EU is ready to negotiate with the US on the energy market. But only if Washington abolishes the decision to impose duties on imported steel and aluminum in 25% and 10% respectively.
“We are ready to begin negotiations with the US to strengthen cooperation in the energy sector, if the EU is fully exempted from duties,” he said.
Analysts have repeatedly noted that in general, US LNG costs the EU more than Russian pipeline gas. In some periods, their price converges, which makes the supply of liquefied gas from abroad cost-effective.
For example, now the full cost of American LNG is close to the exchange prices for gas in Europe, about the same price for Russian supplies. However, it is not at all necessary that such a situation will be observed in the future, says Alexander Sobko , an analyst at the Energy Center of the Skolkovo Business School.
Receiving LNG terminals in Europe began to be actively built since the 1970s, to date there are about 167 million tons of LNG capacity in the region, and LNG terminals have never worked at full capacity, says VYGON Consulting analyst Ekaterina Kolbikova.
In the future, it is expected that against the backdrop of the growth in world trade in LNG by 18 billion cubic meters last year, mainly in the Asia-Pacific region, the supply of liquefied gas in Europe will be limited.
“Accordingly, contrary to new initiatives in the EU energy policy, Russian gas will continue to increase its share in the key market,” the analyst said.
In general, European politicians have recently been extremely concerned about the aggressive policies of the Donald administration Trump . Duties and the US withdrawal from a nuclear deal with Iran saved Europe from “all illusions,” said the heads The Council of Europe Donald Tusk .
“Looking at the latest decisions of President Trump, someone could even think: who needs enemies, when you have such friends? But to be honest, Europe should be grateful to President Trump, because thanks to him we got rid of all illusions, “he said at the EU summit on May 17.
European leaders also agreed to adhere to a strict joint position in trade negotiations with the US, which does not involve unilateral concessions.
The policy of transactions and selective protectionism do not bode well in terms of the sustainability of world trade, including trade in energy commodities, notes the director of the Natural Resources and Commodities Group Fitch Ratings Dmitriy Marinchenko .
The deal “the cancellation of duties on imports of steel in exchange for” Nord Stream -2 “fits into the style of the current US administration, but not the fact that Berlin will accept it, argues the expert.
Germany consistently supports Nord Stream-2, which it certainly benefits, and also removes the risks associated with the likely growth in demand for imported gas in the long term – production in Europe will continue to fall. On the other hand, the barrage of import duties on metals is also a painful story for the EU.
In any case, the US’s tough position on the “Nord Stream-2”, which also looks at the protectionist motive, creates risks for the project and can delay its implementation, Marinchenko believes.


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