WASHINGTON, D.C. – With only a 100 miles of pipe left to install in the Baltic Sea, Russian-owned companies are working to circumvent U.S. sanctions and complete President Vladimir Putin’s pipeline, Nord Stream 2 – a project that if completed would reward Russia’s aggressive expansionism and economic blackmail, hold our European allies’ energy security hostage to Russia, and undermine America’s national security interests.
That’s why U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee introduced new bipartisan legislation clarifying and expanding sanctions they led to passage last year that has halted the pipeline for the last six months.
Their new legislation clarifies that U.S. sanctions apply:
- To vessels engaged in all pipelaying activities;
- To persons and companies who facilitate providing those vessels;
- To persons and companies who provide insurance for, or port facilities for retrofitting or tethering services of, those vessels, and;
- To persons and companies that provide certification for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to begin operations.
Sen. Cruz has led a bipartisan and bicameral fight to stop Putin’s pipeline for over a year. Learn more here.
Bottom line: Putin’s pipeline must be stopped. Here’s what news reports and analyses have to say about Sens. Cruz and Shaheen’s latest effort to do just that:
“The pipeline would increase Germany’s energy dependency on Russia while also bypassing the existing pipelines that run through Ukraine and the Baltic states, thereby depriving those nations of much needed transshipment revenues that each country currently receives. […] In order to become law, the Cruz/Shaheen bill needs to be passed both in the Senate and then the House of Representatives, and then signed by President Trump. However, just the fact that it has been introduced is good news for those who still take a clear-eyed view toward energy, the environment, and international relations. This is especially so given the passions of the time and the increased need for reliable energy sources resulting from the ravages of the coronavirus.”
“A bipartisan group of senators is planning to introduce legislation that would expand U.S. sanctions against Gazprom PJSC’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany by taking aim at insurance companies that work with Russian vessels on completion of the project. […] The U.S. is seeking to block completion of the project over longstanding concern that additional flows of Russian gas would increase the Kremlin’s political leverage over European Union countries. Washington has repeatedly urged Europe to buy more U.S. liquefied natural gas instead. The Russian government said last year that sanctions would not derail the Nord Stream 2 project. The bill will state that anyone involved in the project in any capacity will ‘face crippling and immediate American sanctions,’ Cruz, a Texas Republican, said in a statement.”
Washington Examiner: Sanction any firm that completes Nord Stream II
“While Russian energy giant Gazprom is already under U.S. sanctions, Russia has enabled the project’s continuation by redesignating Gazprom assets under other corporate authorities. […] But America is striking back. Sens. Ted Cruz and Jeanne Shaheen last week introduced a new bill that would sanction any entities providing services in support of the pipeline’s completion. That matters with regards to Det Norske Veritas, because the firm will be responsible for validating the pipeline. Few, if any, alternatives to Det Norske Veritas exist. In short, if the company is sanctioned, the Nord Stream II may never be completed. That would be a very good thing. After all, Nord Stream II is not ultimately designed to double Russia’s supply of natural gas to Europe, though that’s what would happen. That supply is only the means to the end. Putin’s end game is his assured stranglehold over the European energy market. A stranglehold that will allow Putin to hold winter energy supplies hostage for the ransom of European Union political deference.”
Financial Times: US senators propose new round of Nord Stream 2 sanctions
“US lawmakers and administration officials have repeatedly expressed concerns that the gas pipeline weakens Europe’s energy security by increasing the dependence of western European countries like Germany on Russia for oil and gas, as well as reducing the flow of gas through Ukraine and depriving the US of income. Gazprom already supplies almost 40 percent of Europe’s gas. The US is promoting its own exports of liquefied national gas as an alternative it calls ‘freedom gas’. […] Mr. Cruz said the bill was a result of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s attempts to ‘circumvent’ the initial US sanctions. ‘This new bill will once and for all clarify that those involved in any way with installing pipeline for the project will face crippling and immediate American sanctions,’ said Mr. Cruz.”
“The U.S. effort to kill the Russia-backed Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline is going into overdrive — which threatens to pull in the EU. […] ‘Putin continues to try to circumvent those sanctions, and so this new bill will once and for all clarify that those involved in any way with installing pipeline for the project will face crippling and immediate American sanctions,’ Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, added in the statement, which denounced the project as ‘Putin’s pipeline.’ […] The project is fiercely opposed by the U.S., Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic countries, which see it as an instrument of Russian geopolitical influence over its former empire. The Commission is also worried about the pipeline’s impact on the EU’s energy security.”
“U.S. senators announced a bill on Thursday expanding sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline and targeting the project Washington says will boost Moscow’s economic and political influence in Germany and other European countries. […] The new legislation, spearheaded by Senators Ted Cruz, a Republican, and Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, would expand sanctions to include penalties on parties involved in pipe-laying activities, not just laying pipes, and parties providing underwriting services, insurance or reinsurance for vessels. Cruz said it ‘makes clear those involved with vessels installing the pipeline will face crippling and immediate sanctions.’”
Natural Gas Intelligence: U.S. Lawmakers Push More Nord Stream 2 Sanctions as Russia Searches for Workarounds
“U.S. lawmakers have introduced bipartisan legislation to expand sanctions targeting the Nord Stream 2 (NS2) natural gas pipeline as Russia pushes ahead to complete the project and move more supplies into Europe. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the bill Thursday, which would modify legislation they sponsored last year that was signed into law by President Trump as part of the annual defense bill. The new measures would expand sanctions to cover any entity that aids NS2’s completion. ‘There’s a bipartisan and bicameral consensus that Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline poses a critical threat to America’s national security and must not be completed,’ Cruz said.”