As the new government of the United States under joe Biden believed to be considering additional sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany, the pipelay barge Fortuna is continuing its pipelay operation in the Danish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the pipelay vessel Akademik Cherskiy is doing the preparation work before starting pipelay.
“I hope Nord Stream 2 will do the piping as much as possible and as quickly as possible using both Fortuna and Cherskiy,” Katja Yafimava, a senior research fellow at the Oxford Energy Research Institute, told New Europe on April 9.
A spokesperson for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline told New Europe on April 9: “As of March 31, a total of 2,339 kilometers out of 2,460 kilometers or 95 percent of the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline have been installed. . About 93 km in Danish waters and about 28 km in German waters will be built. We will announce the next plan in the appropriate time, ”added the spokesperson.
With more than 95% of the pipeline completed, Washington may not be able to stop the Nord Stream 2 project. “My view remains that the Biden government wants to stop / complicate the project but does not want to punish any European companies. Which Europe has to do with it, ”Yafimava said and explained that the February sanctions report only listed the Russian company Fortuna and its owners.
“Hence, one can expect the US to address the threat of sanctions in time before passing the next sanctions report in late May with the aim of getting more European companies out of the way,” Yafimava said. further from the project ”.
At the same time, the Oxford energy expert argued that the Biden administration wanted “trade-offs” not to impose sanctions on European companies in exchange for something – a favorable condition. “But I don’t think there will be many offers from Europe / Germany because they know that the US itself is tired of imposing sanctions on European companies and the losses,” Yafimava said. the harm it will cause to US-Europe relations.
Peter Beyer, a member of Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, Germany’s coordinator for transatlantic relations is said to have called for a halt on the Nord Stream 2 gas construction to the government of Ms. Merkel has time to work to re-establish relations with the US.
When asked if this signaled a change in attitude in Berlin, Yafimava said it was a minority stance while that of the German Prime Minister’s government. Angela Merkel remains unchanged, namely the construction to be completed. “Stopping the construction of Nord Stream 2 will significantly weaken Germany’s position with the US over the aforementioned regulations and will only allow the US to make a harder bargain,” Yafimava said.
In early January, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas it is reported that the federal government will not change its position on Nord Stream 2.
Regarding alleged incidents with other ships and reported low flying “foreign aircraft” appearing near the ships of Nord Stream 2, Yafimava explained that according to the Danish maritime authority’s announcement to the ships There is a temporary restricted area with a radius of 1.5 nautical miles around Fortuna and Cherskiy. “If any alleged third party interference leads to a violation of that forbidden area, the Danish authorities will take measures to prevent that,” she explained.
When asked about the next steps after Nord Stream 2 is completed in Danish waters and when it is expected to go into service, Yafimava said, “I think Nord Stream can finish the construction. two chains by 2021, but the start of operations seems more uncertain – depending on the German NRA certification and whether politics can influence the decision of this independent organization – and possibly is anything from winter 2021-22 to winter 2023-24 ”.
Meanwhile, Nord Stream 2 said the company did not comment on speculations about US sanctions actions on the project. “The operation of Nord Stream 2 is in the interest of Europe’s energy security, European consumers and EU’s economic competitiveness,” said the spokesperson. “We agree with the European governments and the EU Commission that the US sanctions actions against companies doing business legally in the EU under the Nord Stream 2 project are against international law. and violating Europe’s energy sovereignty, ”argued a Nord Stream 2 spokesperson. that these governments and the European Commission have a responsibility to protect companies operating in Europe from illegal extraterritorial sanctions.
On January 18, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said the EU opposes unilateral sanctions affecting EU companies conducting legitimate and legitimate business activities as was the case with the Nord Stream 2 legislation.
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