Nord Stream 2 will be completed despite the U. S sanctions. This was stated by Prime Minister Medvedev. He said that there will be a delay of several months.
We’ll discuss the details of this with our observer Nailya Asker-Zade.
– So, they announced the sanctions on Friday?
– To be exact, on Friday night. The Treasury Department announced the entry-into-force of the restrictions against the Nord Stream pipelines 2 and TurkStream. Washington demands from the companies laying the pipe immediately halt construction. Dmitry Medvedev stated that these restrictions are of an absolutely anti-competitive nature and ordered to work out response measures.
Dmitry Medvedev: “It’s evident that they jeopardize the interests of a considerable number of European countries. These are actually non-competitive practices that contradict all international agreements and the principles of international law and international trade. Well… In fact, there’s nothing surprising about that. Nevertheless, I’d like my colleagues in the government to look into the opportunities to introduce some kind of other restrictive measures toward the United States”.
The U.S. sanctions affected two projects. TurkStream includes the construction of two threads of pipeline: one will reach Turkey, the other will supply gas to Southern and South-Eastern European countries. Nord Stream 2 consists of laying a pipeline from the Russian coast through the Baltic Sea to Germany. It will pass four economic zones and the territorial waters of five states: Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany. All of these countries have already issued construction permits. The last to do so was Denmark. Copenhagen expressed its approval only in late October.
Despite this, they were to complete the project on-time and launch it next year. As of today, the construction is 93.5% completed. Over 2,300 kilometers (1,400 miles) of pipeline have been laid. The operators of the Nord Stream 2 declared their intention to have the project completed as quickly as possible. According to the operator’s representative, the companies involved in the project are proceeding with their work to have the pipeline launched as soon as possible.
– There’s suddenly a new hurdle: a Swiss pipe-laying company refused to continue its work.
– Yes. On Saturday, the Swiss Allseas announced the freezing of work. The company was laying pipe but has already withdrawn all its vessels from the construction whereabouts in the Baltic Sea. If Allseas decides against its participation in the project, Moscow will need to find other ships. The Fortuna barge could have become an alternative option, but it can’t work in Denmark”s territorial waters as it doesn’t have a dynamic positioning system. Another option is the pipe-laying vessel Akademik Cherskiy. It doesn’t have Fortuna”s an impediment, but it’s stationed in the Far East, and it would take approximately two months for it to arrive in Denmark.
Takaev Rustam, Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry: “I think that the best option we have is relocating the vessel Akademik Serbskiy, which belongs to Gazprom, from the Far East to the Baltic Sea to complete the construction using this vessel. It will definitely not see how any sanctions imposed. Vessels of this type don’t work alone, it’s a complete fleet. It’s necessary to use auxiliary vessels for support.”
Today, the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency of Germany approved the application for pipe-laying in winter months.
Nico Nolte, Head of the BSH: “We’ve issued our permission. Pipe-laying works may be performed in the winter. It’s up to the company to choose the time for the work.”
Germany’s representatives stand up against the restrictions that were introduced and state that the USA uses blackmailing methods.
Olaf Scholz, German Minister of Finance: “Such sanctions are serious interference with Germany’s and Europe’s internal affairs and sovereignty. We’re resolute to turn them down. More than that, NATO allies aren’t supposed to do such things. This move doesn’t make any sense”.
The head of The MFA, Sergey Lavrov, said the same today.
Sergey Lavrov: “The United States has demonstrated once again that their diplomacy mostly amounts to intimidation by using various methods: sanctions, ultimatums, threats… After this, I guess, after they punish their closest allies for solving their economic issues, for fulfilling the tasks of their energy security”.
According to the newspaper Bild, the German authorities had been making attempts to prevent the sanctions from taking effect until the very last moment. The German MFA sent a message to the representatives of the USA, pointing out that Russia and Ukraine have agreed upon gas transit starting January 1st, 2020. Even these arguments didn’t work.
– But some people in Ukraine are also unhappy about the gas protocol being signed.
– Yes. And, by the way, even though the situation with gas transit through Ukraine has cleared up the issue of direct supply of fuel to the country hasn’t been solved yet. It became known recently that five Ukrainian companies signed contracts with Gazprom on gas supply starting January 1st. Former President Poroshenko hastily called for the introduction of sanctions against the Ukrainian companies as well. This is how Vice Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak commented on this situation.
Dmitry Kozak: “We now see a tempest in a tea-pot starting up in Ukraine about the completion of some five contracts with Ukrainian companies to which we are going to supply gas. It’s not true. Apart from an arrangement with the government of Ukraine, we don’t have any contracts. We’re not going to supply anything. We’re going to act in strict accordance with the protocol”.
Moscow and Kiev will be able to discuss this issue after the holidays. Meanwhile, they need to align the technical details of the transit.
– Thank you! This was my colleague Nailya Asker-Zade.