Dec 10, 2019

Congress confronts Trump on Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline

Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The House-Senate deal made on Monday on must-pass defense legislation would impose sanctions against companies helping Russia complete the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline to Germany.

Why it matters: Critics contend the project will bolster Russia's leverage in Europe plus erode energy security and Ukrainian access to Russian gas.

But, but, but: The Trump administration, which opposes the project, has not imposed sanctions under existing authorities.

  • Last year Trump softened U.S. criticism toward the project, breaking with the years-long State Department posture.

What they're saying: GOP Sen. Ted Cruz said via Twitter late last night that he would work with the administration to "make sure these sanctions are fully implemented and any violators are tracked and duly designated."

  • He worked with Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen on the provision.

The intrigue: The project is well under construction, so it's unclear if the bill will prove anything more than symbolic.

  • "In October, Denmark gave its long-delayed permission for the pipeline to be built in its waters, clearing a final hurdle for a project that is more than 80 per cent finished," the Financial Times reports.
  • However, their piece notes that sanctions could slow the development.

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U.S. sanctions bill hinders work on Russian-backed pipeline — for now

View over the construction site of the pigging station of the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 2. picture alliance / Contributor/Getty Images

A major contractor on Russia's Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline to Germany is halting work to avoid sanctions that would be imposed under legislation that President Trump signed Friday night.

Why it matters: The move by the Switzerland-based Allseas to stop laying subsea pipeline sections in the Baltic Sea creates new hurdles for the controversial pipeline project.

Go deeperArrowDec 21, 2019

Russia vows retaliatory sanctions on U.S. over Nord Stream 2 pipeline

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russia vowed Monday to respond to U.S. sanctions on its Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline to Germany, the AP reports.

The big picture: The U.S. enacted sanctions last week against individuals and companies building the pipeline — which forced a major contractor to suspend its work — arguing that it would increase Europe's dependency on Russian energy.

Go deeperArrowDec 23, 2019

Russia and Ukraine strike a deal for gas transportation

Photo: Paul Zinken/picture alliance via Getty Images

Ukraine has agreed to allow Russia to continue sending gas through the country to the rest of Europe over the next five years, AP reports.

Why it matters: Europe relies on a large amount of gas from Russia for heating and industry, AP writes. Russia sends roughly 40% of its European gas deliveries through pipelines that cross through Ukraine.

Go deeperArrowDec 21, 2019