U.S. senators threaten sanctions over Nord Stream 2

 U.S. senators threaten sanctions over Nord Stream 2

According to the draft version of the bipartisan bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and his Democratic colleague Jeanne Shaheen, a series of sanctions will be slapped on companies involved in laying deep-sea pipelines for Russian energy projects, taking special aim at the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Foreign Policy reported citing a draft copy of a bill.

The draft bill is expected to be introduced in the U.S. Senate today. It would also block transactions in U.S.-based property, along with interests belonging to the companies involved, and would also penalise entities that providing assistance to the project. 

"In the latest uptick of trans-Atlantic tensions, European ships involved in the construction of a controversial gas pipeline from Russia to Germany could be subject to U.S. sanctions under a new bipartisan bill that will be introduced in the U.S. Senate as early as Monday," the article says.

The bill takes aim at the vessels used to lay deep-sea pipelines, which involves technological know-how that Western energy companies have but that Russia lacks.

Under the bill, people who continue to sell or lease boats for use in Nord Stream 2 construction would be subject to a U.S. travel ban, and any assets in the United States would be frozen. The bill also allows for a range of penalties to be imposed on people who provide financial or technical support services or insurance to the vessels.

The legislative proposals, which apply to all vessels used in laying pipelines at depths of 100 feet or more for Russian energy exports, could also impact the further construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline.

In its current format, the bill also calls for the secretary of state to submit a report to Congress each year scrutinizing the activities of all companies involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, including financial institutions, and assessing whether they have violated any other U.S. sanctions on Russian people or companies.

The bill would put under scrutiny two companies that have contracts to lay pipes for Nord Stream 2: Switzerland’s Allseas and Italy’s Saipem, two of only a handful of companies worldwide that operate pipe-laying vessels.

It also ratchets up pressure on Gazprom and the five companies partnering on Nord Stream 2: Uniper and Wintershall from Germany, Anglo-Dutch Shell, OMV from Austria, and Engie of France.

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