The U.S. continues to increase pressure on the Nord Stream 2 project, which has already been left without key European participants fearing U.S. sanctions.
Following the expansion of restrictions on insurance, engineering and certification companies, the U.S. authorities are preparing a new sanctions package that will hit the only pipelaying vessel available to Gazprom - the Fortuna barge, Handelsblatt reports, citing its sources.
According to Handelsblatt, sanctions will be imposed on Tuesday, January 19. Washington has informed its European partners about it.
The Fortuna barge has been granted permission by the Danish authorities to lay the remaining 120-kilometer section of the pipelinee in Denmark's exclusive economic zone since January 15. According to the schedule, work in Danish waters should be completed in May and in German waters by the end of June.
So far, however, Nord Stream 2 AG has not resumed construction. According to Handelsblatt sources, the pause is being made so that the German authorities can try to negotiate with the Biden administration as European companies leave the project one by one.
On Saturday, January 16, it became known that the Swiss insurance company Zurich Insurance Group suspended its work with Nord Stream-2.
On January 13, the Danish engineering corporation Ramboll announced its withdrawal from the project. At the beginning of the year, Norwegian Det Norske Veritas (DNV GL) refused to provide certification services.
In September, an international group of Protection and indemnity insurance of shipowners (The International Group of P&I Clubs) refused to work with Nord Stream 2.
The association, which represents 13 international maritime insurance clubs, said none of its members would provide insurance coverage to vessels involved in the pipeline's construction.
Earlier, the Danish Maritime Authority reported that the Fortuna pipe-laying vessel and the Baltiyskiy Issledovatel and Murman vessels will start laying the pipes in Denmark's exclusive economic zone from January 15.
The Fortuna ship left the German port of Wismar on Thursday afternoon, where it had been docked for the past two weeks. The Baltic Explorer supply ship returned to the construction area on 14 January