In an interview with the publication Focus, US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell alluded to the sanctions that Washington could impose on the German companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.
“From an American perspective, the pipeline will bring more than just gas, but also an increased sanction risk,” he said. He pointed out that the pipeline will make EU countries dependent on Russia.
The American diplomat has repeatedly said that “the companies that operate in the Russian energy export sector risk coming under potential sanctions”. In January, Grenell actually sent a letter of warning to the German companies affiliated with the project.
Five European companies are involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2: the German companies Wintershall and Uniper, Austrian OMV, French Engie and British-Dutch Shell. The operating company is Nord Stream 2 AG, which is entirely owned by the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom. The project will cost an estimated €9.5 billion.
The pipeline is designed to transport 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year from Russia to Germany and other European countries. The pipe will pass through the exclusive economic zones of Russia, Denmark, Germany, Finland and Sweden. Construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
The US is highly opposed to the project and claims it will provide Russia with another instrument of political pressure.
At the end of April, the Bild newspaper reported that German Ambassador to the US Emily Haber had sent US Congress a letter asking it to refrain from imposing new sanctions on the Russian companies Novatek and Gazprom. She said that the steps Washington might take to prevent the progress of Nord Stream 2 are counterproductive, because they potentially threaten the EU’s energy security.