"The planned Nord Stream-2 pipeline is not only becoming a target for sanctions as one of the export natural gas pipelines but is directly mentioned in the bill that the House of Representatives of the US Congress is about to vote on as a key bone of contention for the US," Analytical Center expert Alexander Kurdin explained to a Rossiyskaya Gazeta correspondent.
The US could not possibly create insurmountable obstacles for Nord Stream 2
The EU is opposed to the US imposing new sanctions in Russia. Brussels fears that the planned restrictions may infringe on the interests of European companies. They are especially concerned about the impact the new US sanctions may have on the EU companies participating in the Nord Stream 2 energy project, which has special significance for the EU. The new sanctions may cause problems to companies from Germany, France, the Netherlands, the UK, Austria, and Switzerland.
In its present form the bill simply allows the US President to choose from a broad range of restrictive measures. These can include a ban on sales of goods and technologies to Russia, a ban on issuing loans to Russia or imposing a whole host of restrictions on the access by Russian state companies to the US financial system, Mr. Kurdin notes. "This can create problems for the investors in the project as well as for the suppliers because the new bill does not limit sanctions to just Nord Stream 2, these companies may run into restrictions in other areas of their business," the expert believes.
At the same time, it should be noted that no specific sanctions have been announced yet and American business is not playing any significant role in drafting the bill, while European companies and politicians alike have been quite firm in protecting their own interests, plus about a billion dollars has already been invested in the project and will now be exempted from any sanctions.
The best case scenario for Nord Stream 2, according to Mr. Kurdin, is if the current status quo was preserved, with potential sanctions remaining a threat that never comes to pass. But even if the US administration were to go ahead and put in place some real sanctions, they would still not be able to create insurmountable obstacles for the project; the worst case scenario would include increased risks of delays and cost overruns for all the participants. The competitiveness of the project and that of the Russian natural gas would be reduced somewhat and the objective of supporting exports of US natural gas would be achieved at least to some extent.
Source: Rossiyskaya Gazeta
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