Shell Hopes U.S. Congress Will Drop Plans to Sanction Nord Stream 2

Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell has asked the United States Congress not to enact sanctions against the Russia-led Nord Stream 2 underwater gas pipeline to Germany, Reuters reported citing the head of Shell’s Russian business Cederic Cremers. 

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is opposing the project, arguing that it would strengthen Moscow’s economic grip on Europe. A U.S. Senate committee passed a bill in July to place sanctions on companies and individuals involved in building the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

“If the current legislation under consideration in the U.S. Congress is passed, it will affect all of the companies involved with the project, including Shell. We therefore respectfully urge legislators not to enact these sanctions,” Shell’s Cremers said in emailed comments.

Russian gas producer Gazprom leads the project while other participants, including Shell, Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall, Austria’s OMV and France’s Engie, provide financial support. OMV has also publicly voiced its support for Nord Stream 2.

The project will double the annual capacity of the existing Nord Stream pipeline to 110 billion cubic metres and account for more than half of Russia’s piped gas exports to Europe, allowing it to bypass Ukraine, currently its main transit route.

In the wake of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, its relations with Ukraine have soured and the European Commission has stepped up calls for member states to reduce their reliance on Russian energy imports.

The project faces legal challenges from Europe, which is changing its energy rules, including regulation of Nord Stream 2.