Washington's plans to impose new extraterritorial sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline do not meet Germany's legal framework, stated German Chancellor Angela Merkel, answering questions from Bundestag deputies on Wednesday, July 1. According to Merkel, it would be right to complete this project, although construction is difficult.
"We are acting in this vein," the head of the German government stressed. It also pointed out that Nord Stream 2 was an "economic project with a political component". "That's why Germany has made a lot of efforts to conclude a transit agreement with Ukraine for the coming years and not to deprive it of transit of Russian gas and transit duties," Angela Merkel said, as quoted by DW.
The day before, the U.S. Senate included new punitive measures against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the draft defense budget. In addition to the companies building the pipeline, ports, lawyers and insurance companies fall under new American sanctions.
The construction of the 10 billion euro "Northern Stream 2" was stopped at the end of last December, with only 100 km of pipe remaining to be laid at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
This forced Russian officials to come to the negotiating table with Ukraine and conclude a new transit contract, despite numerous promises to completely terminate it from 2020.
Russian President Vladimir Putin assured that Gazprom is able to complete the pipeline on its own and launch it at the latest in the first quarter of 2021.
The only vessel available to Gazprom, which is capable of laying pipes at the desired depth, Akademik Chersky, left the port of Nakhodka in February and on May 9 reached Europe, dropping anchor near the port of Mukran in Germany, where the logistics terminal of the gas pipeline project is located.
The port also houses the Fortuna tube-laying barge belonging to the Russian Company Mezhregiontruboprovodstroy, which the Danish authorities have deemed to be non-compliant with safety requirements. The vessel does not have a dynamic positioning system.
On May 2019, amendments to the Gas Directive came into force in Europe, which extend to offshore gas pipelines coming from third countries. According to EU rules, a company is forbidden to be both the gas supplier and the owner of the pipeline. For Gazprom, this means that it is impossible to use more than 50% of Nord Stream 2's capacity even if it is completed.
In May, the EU court rejected Nord Stream 2 AG's claim against the European Gas Directive, and Germany's Federal Network Agency denied it the exemption to the general rules.