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Russian pipeline delayed, not stopped, by US sanctions

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Subject

Implications of US sanctions against Nord Stream 2.

Significance

US Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said in a February 15 interview at the Munich Security Conference that he was confident Russia would not be able to complete the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. He reiterated US opposition to the project, which would have likely been operational by now if Swiss pipelaying firm Allseas had not pulled out in December because of US legislation threatening sanctions for involvement in pipeline construction.

Impacts

  • The recent transit deal with Ukraine gives Gazprom capacity in the event of a Nord Stream 2 delay.
  • Russia plans to reduce use of the Ukrainian route; whether (and when) it will abandon it altogether is unclear.
  • Europe will remain dependent on Russian gas, whichever route it travels by; Azerbaijan and others can add only marginal capacity.
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