US crusade against Nord Stream 2 intensifies
The battle over Nord Stream 2 pipeline continues. While the US is doing everything possible to prevent the construction of the pipe, Russia is taking every tool at its disposal to finish this project on time. The December sanctions targeted pipe-laying ships were not effective Therefore, the US imposed new ones in early June. This time, the US Senate introduced sanctions against ship insurers working on the laying. "We must now continue that effort and ensure that Russia does not surreptitiously extend its malign influence throughout Europe," New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen said.
The Russian government understands that in such circumstances any delay may be fatal for the project. "This pipeline is a commercial project that primarily serves Europe and its energy security. Sanctions and their tightening against Nord Stream 2 are illegal and completely inadequate. This is pure protectionism,” Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in an interview with Handelsblatt newspaper. He also added that " the Nord Stream-2 project has already been completed in terms of investment and economic viability. All possible technical means are used for the purely physical completion of construction works." The US is now considering new sanctions against Germany threatening to reduce the number of US military personnel in the country after Novak’s statement. Notably, Vice Chairman of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) Parliament Group, Alexander Lambsdorff, urged German Chancellor Angela Merkel to think twice whether it is really worth laying a pipeline and allying with Moscow.
Additionally, there a lot of questions about its profitability. Sergey Pikin, Director of Energy Development Fund, emphasizes that when Nord Stream 2 is finished, Russia needs to come up with a plan on how to use it efficiently and most importantly profitably. Its big brother, Nord Stream 1, remained half-utilized for many years due to European restrictions. So, there is no guarantee that Nord Stream 2 will not repeat its fate.