US Sanctions Cause New Problem for Nord Stream 2

A Russian construction worker speaks on a mobile phone in Portovaya Bay some 106 miles northwest from St. Petersburg, Russia, during a 2010 ceremony marking the start of Nord Stream pipeline construction. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, file)

OSLO (AFP) — Norwegian firm DNV GL said Monday it was halting work to certify the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany because of the threat of U.S. sanctions.

Technical and safety specifications must be certified for the $12 billion pipeline under the Baltic Sea to enter into service.

“DNV GL will cease all verification activities for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline system in line with sanctions and while sanctions are in place,” the firm said in a statement. 

Nord Stream 2 is set to double Russian natural-gas shipments to Germany, Europe’s largest economy.

It has long been in the crosshairs of the United States, particularly under President Donald Trump, whose government has openly criticised European countries for their reliance on energy from Russia. 

Work resumed on the nearly completed pipeline in December after an almost year-long suspension caused by US threats of asset freezes and visa restrictions for companies involved.

Work on a section of the pipeline in Danish waters was set to begin in mid-January.

“We are implementing a plan to wind down our verification support to the project,” said DNV GL, a leading firm that certifies equipment installations for the maritime and energy industries.

“As the situation currently stands, DNV GL cannot issue a certificate upon the completion of the pipeline,” it said, adding that its operations complied with all relevant regulations and legislation, including sanctions.

In November, it had already stopped providing services to ships involved with the project. 

Russian giant Gazprom has a majority stake in the project, working alongside an international consortium that includes Germany’s Wintershall and Uniper groups, Dutch-British giant Shell, France’s Engie and Austria’s OMV.

© Agence France-Presse

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