US imposes sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

The United States has imposed sanctions on the company in charge of building Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, in a move that expands US sanctions on Moscow.

The sanctions, which target the Nord Stream 2 AG company and its CEO, Matthias Warnig, add to pressure on the Baltic Sea project that was designed to double the gas flow capacity from Russia to Germany.

The Nord Stream 2 project, which has yet to begin operations is awaiting certification from Germany and the European Union.

Germany has kept the certification waiting citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The United States is worried that the pipeline will increase Europe’s dependence on Russian energy LNG and aims to instead supply LNG to Europe.

U.S. President Joe Biden said his administration had been coordinating closely with Germany on the Nord Stream 2 project.

“Today, I have directed my administration to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and its corporate officers. These steps are another piece of our initial tranche of sanctions in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. As I have made clear, we will not hesitate to take further steps if Russia continues to escalate.”

The U.S. Treasury Department has issued a general license authorizing the “wind down” of transactions with Nord Stream 2 AG until March 2.

The sanctions did not affect Gerhard Schroeder, a former German chancellor and a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s who has headed the shareholders committee of Nord Stream since 2005.

Nord Stream 2 AG is a registered Swiss firm whose parent company is the Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom .

Gazprom owns the entire pipeline but paid half the costs, with the rest shared by Shell, Austria’s OMV , France’s Engie and Germany’s Uniper  and Wintershall DEA.

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