The United States is confident that Russia won’t be able to complete the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea, the country’s top energy official has said, signaling that Washington will press forward with its opposition to the project, Bloomberg reported on Sunday.
Asked about Russian efforts to circumvent U.S. sanctions on the pipeline by completing it on its own, U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said “they can’t” — and dismissed claims that project owner Gazprom will face only a short delay.
“It’s going to be a very long delay, because Russia doesn’t have the technology,” Brouillette said in an interview at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. “If they develop it, we’ll see what they do. But I don’t think it’s as easy as saying, well, we’re almost there, we’re just going to finish it.”
The pipeline, which would pump as much as 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from fields in Siberia directly to Germany, has become a focus for geopolitical tensions across the Atlantic. Trump has assailed Germany for giving “billions” to Russia for gas while it benefits from U.S. protection.
Nord Stream 2’s owners had invested 5.8 billion euros ($6.3 billion) in the project by May 2019, according to company documents.
U.S. sanctions in December forced Switzerland’s Allseas Group, which was laying the sub-sea pipes, to quit the project, throwing it into disarray. The U.S. has said Europe should cut its reliance on Russia for gas and instead buy cargoes of the fuel in its liquid form from the U.S.