“The United States may go to extremes.”

The United States will impose additional sanctions on the Nord Stream-2 and Turkish Stream gas pipelines. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo advised foreign investors to “get out of there immediately,” otherwise, he said, “there will be consequences.” At the end of last year, US authorities already imposed restrictions against Nord Stream-2. They affected primarily foreign investors. Due to the threat of being restricted, the Swiss company Allseas, which laid the pipes, left the project. And in June, US senators prepared a new bill according to which even when the gas pipeline was completed, Nord Stream 2 would not be able to launch it. At the same time, The Wall Street Journal notes that the next statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo does not mean that new sanctions will be imposed immediately. It just gives a start to the discussion of this issue in the administration. Leading Kommersant FM Marat Kashin discussed the statements of the US Secretary of State with the director of the National Energy Security Fund Konstantin Simonov.

  • Can the US prevent the completion of the Nord Stream 2? Or is it already impossible? Or is it just about trying to prevent it from starting?
  • Preventing the launch is a completely different story. At the same time, the United States may adopt sanctions prohibiting the supply of Russian gas, but it will be such a serious challenge for the European Union, but it is possible.

Let’s try to get started with the statements of Pompeo. He said that companies should immediately get out of the construction of Nord Stream-2, appealing to the CAATSA law, but, in fact, this law was adopted in the summer of 2017. It turns out that Pompeo appeals to the law, which, according to his version, has been inactive for three years. And now, suddenly, the United States says: by the way, we have this law, who does not comply, urgently get out of this project. Unfortunately, the United States is now actively using the practice of so-called cross-border sanctions, that is, they impose restrictions on countries that have nothing to do with them. Nord Stream 2 is being built in the Baltic Sea, but the United States says: we do not like this project, we believe that it is political. Moreover, there is no logic. On the one hand, Pompeo says that all projects that increase energy dependence on the Kremlin are dangerous, but, for example, in the version of the Americans, transit through Ukraine is a normal story, although the same Russian gas seems to reinforce some kind of dependence of Europeans on this story. It turns out that Russia can pump gas through the Ukrainian pipe, but not through the Nord Stream-2, for some reason it is through it that the influence will somehow grow. Apparently, Ukraine somehow dampens this influence, I don’t know.

But I remind you that the Swiss company Allseas, which really left the project, did not leave because of sanctions under the law on counteracting the enemy in America, the CAATSA law, but as part of new sanctions that were introduced to the defense budget. Accordingly, in December 2019, they left this story. But Pompeo, I repeat, does not appeal to the latest sanctions, but also to this very law, which has been functioning for three years. At the same time, when he says, they say, get out of the project, such a very simple question arises: who remained of the partners there? Five European companies that co-financed this project immediately come to mind. It is known that European regulators forbade them to be shareholders, but they said that this project is important for them, they initially participated in it, they will not abandon the project and will make financing in accordance with the planned shares. So these companies contributed everything, no money is required from them.

In this regard, now the situation is such that Gazprom has the Akademik Chersky vessel and the Fortuna barge. Gazprom is going to complete this project with the help of these two vessels. Foreign partners, all those who were scared, have already fled, that is, it is completely not clear now to whom exactly these sanctions apply there.
You can, again, I don’t know, any paper suppliers to the office of Nord Stream 2 to prosecute sanctions or someone else. That is, hypothetically, if you wish, you can find that somewhere in the Nord Stream 2 company they use something foreign, for example, they fly with foreign airlines, and sanctions are imposed against them, but of course, you can get to the point of absurdity. If we are talking about serious stories in terms of pipe laying, then Gazprom intends to do all this on its own. On August 3, as you know, the deadline for an appeal expires by a decision of Denmark, which allowed pipe laying to vessels that do not have dynamic positioning, that is, the Fortuna barge will be able to begin work. It is unclear who Pompeo is now saying to get out of the project, because everyone has already left.