US sanctions delaying key European gas pipeline
US sanctions on companies building a pipeline to boost Russian gas supplies to Europe will delay the completion of the project by several months and increase its cost, a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives said on Monday.
The group behind Nord Stream 2 has said it aims to complete the project seeking to double gas capacity along the northern Nord Stream pipeline route to Germany as soon as possible after US sanctions prompted a contractor to suspend pipe-laying.
The United States, which is seeking to sell more of its own liquefied natural gas to European states, says Nord Stream 2 will make Europe too reliant on Russian supplies.
“The sanctions will temporarily delay completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline,” conservative lawmaker Peter Beyer told German public radio. “But I believe that in the second half of next year the pipeline will be completed.”
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will run along the Baltic Sea floor, was expected to start up in the first half of 2020.
“There are alternatives, which will bring with them delays as well as higher costs,” said Beyer. Merkel has said her government would not retaliate against the sanctions.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the pipeline would be launched regardless and that Russia would respond. Gazprom, Russia’s state gas giant and a major backer of Nord Stream 2, supplies more than a third of Europe’s gas.