"U.S. resorts to gas assets grabbing"

"U.S. resorts to gas assets grabbing"

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on publications in various media outlets that the U.S. was putting together more sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.

Washington's "hostile and non-competitive attitude to this purely economic project is well known," he noted.

"We are aware that we are dealing with attempts at unfair competition, and sometimes with actions comparable to assets grabbing, but on an international level," TASS cited the Kremlin spokesman as saying.

Peskkov stressed that Russia considers this approach to be "unacceptable."

"The competitiveness of particular projects should be proven in practice through their benefits in terms of supply and demand," he added.

In this case, Peskov said, the competitiveness of Russian gas, which will flow along this route, is 100%. The Kremlin spokesman assumed that the U.S. "might have to think about how it is going to make its customers in Europe buy gas, which is by dozens of percents more expensive than gas."

Deputy director of energy policy of the Institute of Energy and Finances, Alexey Belogoriev, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the United States may hit companies which completing the construction of Nord Stream 2. "The main risk is related to the extraterritorial nature of sanctions against European gas pipeline contractors. Due to such sanctions, it may not be possible to complete the work on time, which would entail additional financial costs. At the same time, it is difficult to imagine sanctions that could significantly complicate the operation of the pipeline," he said.

"Sanctions are the most dangerous at the construction stage and during repair and maintenance work by European companies. If they impose such restrictions, Gazprom will have to hire companies with Russian jurisdiction with the participation of European specialists, which is more expensive. As a result, if we assume that the sanctions adopted in spring and summer, which may hinder the project’s deadlines, then restrictions on Nord Stream 2 adopted in December will not have a big impact. Anyway, the U.S. sanctions cannot prevent the commissioning of the gas pipeline. It would be real only with the support from Europe, but European countries rejected this idea, and Germany opposed the cancellation of the project," Alexey Belogoriev said.

The senior research fellow at the European Research Centre of the International Relations Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Olenchenko, stressed that the United States is rather intimidating than intending to impose new sanctions. "The Americans understand that the patience of the Europeans is not endless - I mean Germany, France and Italy. It is clear that the United States has a plan of real actions against the Russian project, but if it is executed, the consequences will be quite tough, so Washington will turn to it in  the last place," the expert expects.

"The construction of Nord Stream 2 will definitely be completed, neither Europeans nor Americans have any doubts about it, so the U.S. is intimidating European consumers. Of course, the possibility of such intimidation has its limits. If the United States moves into the scope of this discrimination in gas and electricity, they should be ready for the Europeans to respond in the same way. By the way. it's rather easy to do it, as Microsoft and Facebook taxation experience shows," Vladimir Olenchenko concluded.