Nord Stream 2 Sanctions Still an Option: U.S. Ambassador to EU

New sanctions on the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline could yet be imposed by Washington in a bid to block construction of the controversial project, Reuters reports, the U.S. ambassador to the EU said on Tuesday.

“We have not deployed the full set of tools yet that could significantly undermine if not outright stop the project,” said Ambassador Gordon Sondland, asked if Donald Trump could take further measures to thwart the project.

President Donald Trump has said the pipeline across the Baltic Sea to the European Union would leave EU countries even more dependent on Russian energy. In August, he signed new sanctions on Russia into law that the pipeline’s promoter, Gazprom, said could hold up some of its projects. For now, construction is continuing with the participation of some major EU companies, despite opposition from many EU states and from the EU executive.

Addressing an audience at the European Policy Centre think-tank in Brussels, Sondland added: “We’re hoping that the opposition to the project works organically because the EU and its member countries agree that dependence on Russian energy is not a good long-term geopolitical decision. If that philosophy is not adopted and Nord Stream continues, then the president has many, many other tools at his disposal — I’m not going to go through the litany — to try and curb and stop the project.”

Germany, the pipeline’s destination, refuses to join EU opposition, describing it as a private enterprise.

Washington has not detailed potential actions but one way in which the United States could undermine the project would be by penalizing big multinational firms working on it.

Gazprom is the sole shareholder in Nord Stream 2, shouldering half of the $10.7 billion construction cost. Gazprom’s Western partners are Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall, Anglo-Dutch group Royal Dutch Shell, France’s Engie and Austria’s OMV.