US Legislation to Sanction Companies Involved in Russia's Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
The world's longest underwater pipeline, near completion by yearend or early 2020, will deliver 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas from beneath the Baltic Sea, its capacity to be doubled by an additional line.
Cost-effective Russian natural gas is around 30% cheaper than US liquified natural gas (LNG), putting US suppliers at a competitive disadvantage.
Trump regime and Capitol Hill hardliners aren't deterred, threatening illegal sanctions on countries, companies, and individuals involved in the project's construction.
Orwellian named House and Senate Protecting Europe's Energy Security Act of 2019 was introduced last June and July respectively in both houses, the measure yet to be passed or signed into law.
It's all about war by other means on Russia, hardline Senator Ted Cruz turning truth on its head, saying:
"If the US fails to halt Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline, we will have vastly strengthened Putin's hans at the expense of the rest of the free world (sic), adding:
"It would generate billions of dollars that could be used to fuel Russian aggression (sic)."
"And at the same time, it would hurt all of Europe by making Western Europe more dependent on Russian energy (sic), more subject to economic coercion (sic), and more subject to economic blackmail (sic)."
Commenting on the companion House bill, neocon Rep. Adam Kinzinger falsely accused Russia of "try(ing) to use energy dependence as a means to put undue political influence on our European allies (sic)," adding:
"Through intimidation and coercion (sic), Vladimir Putin has weaponized natural gas across the region (sic)."
"The continuation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would further endanger millions of Europeans, and pose heavy security risks around the globe (sic)."
Hardline Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Jim Risch said he added a sanctions provision to the draft FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that replicates Protecting Europe's Energy Security legislation, saying:
"The reason for the push is that this window is closing" with pipeline construction nearly completed.
Economic powerhouse Germany strongly supports Nord Stream 2. On November 13, the Bundestag passed legislation, granting the pipeline an exemption from the EU Gas Directive.
It bars the same entity from owning an offshore pipeline and supplying natural gas through it.
The legislation permits Nord Stream 2 to operate from Russia to Germany, eliminating or reducing Ukraine as a transit route to European markets.
Berlin wants unrestricted access to plentiful, cheap Russian natural gas. It's essential for Europe's energy needs.
Along with Nord Stream 1, Russia will be able to supply European markets with 110 billion cubic meters (3.9 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas annually when Nord Stream 2 begins operating.
As liquified natural gas (LNG) demand grows, savings could eventually exceed 24 billion euros annually. Europe is a lucrative market for energy supplier Russia, a boon for European energy consumers.
According to Gazprom Export head Elena Burmistrova, European consumers will save at least 7.9 billion euros in annual energy costs – beginning in 2020.
Strongly backed by Germany and other European countries, it's too late for US hardliners to block it.
Owned by Gazprom, half the construction cost of about $10.5 billion is being paid by Germany's Uniper and Wintershall, Austria's OMV, France's Engie, and the Netherlands' Royal Dutch Shell.
According to Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Nord Stream 2 gas deliveries to European markets may begin by yearend.
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