U.S. concedes defeat on Nord Stream 2
Washington has conceded its defeat on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.
According to senior administration officials, the U.S. has little leverage to prevent the pipeline project between Russia and Germany from being completed, Bloomberg reported.
One of the officials said the pipeline is nearly complete and sanctions passed as part of a U.S. defense bill are too late to have any effect.
At the same time, the official added that the U.S. administration will instead try to impose costs on other Russian energy projects, hoping to sharpen its focus on Russia when Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, who was confirmed as ambassador to the country last week, heads to Moscow next month.
Deputy director of energy policy of the Institute of Energy and Finances, Alexey Belogoriev, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that sanctions against the Nord Stream-2 pipeline will not be able to take effect before its completion. "The sanctions could delay the project for half a year if they came into effect immediately. But for the contractors of Nord Stream-2 have a 90-day period in which they must complete their cooperation with Gazprom, and even if we count from early December, Allseas, which is the main pipelayer, will complete its work by March. Therefore, the sanctions will not affect the construction of the gas pipeline," he explained.
"The sanctions were imposed so late that they turned out to be purely symbolic. Nord Stream-2 in Europe, especially in Western Europe, is perceived as a German project. That’s why the United States did not impose sanctions before: they wanted to maintain relations with Germany," Alexei Belogoryev stressed.
As for Washington's promise to hinder other Russian energy projects, they can strike in several directions. "The sanctions against new LNG projects would be the most effective, first of all, against Arctic LNG-2 of Novatek. Although it’s too late to intervene here as well, because this year Novatek sold a 40% stake in Arctic LNG-2 to Total, two Chinese companies and a consortium of Japanese companies. China will not withdraw from the project, Total and Japan will resist," the expert estimated.
"On the other hand, the sanctions against Novatek's new Ob LNG project, the Far Eastern LNG of Rosneft could be to some extent effective," Alexei Belogoryev concluded.