Biden administration waives sanctions for Nord Stream 2 pipeline chief
The Biden administration’s new move is likely to draw criticism from lawmakers who have argued that several ships and pipe-laying entities, including Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO, could face sanctions under the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act of 2019, known as PEESA.
The State Department report will call for four companies and four ships that support construction of the pipeline to be put on the sanctions list, sources said.
News of the waiver was first reported by Axios.
A State Department spokesperson did not comment on exemptions for Warnig or his company, which is owned by the Russian gas company Gazprom.
“The Biden administration has made it clear that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is a Russian geopolitical project that threatens European energy security and that of Ukraine and NATO’s eastern flank allies and partners,” the spokesperson said. word. “We continue to review entities involved in potentially sanctionable activities and have made it clear that companies risk sanctions if involved in Nord Stream 2.”
Sanctions against companies that build or finance the pipeline, which would deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany, have bipartisan support in Congress. But the Biden administration is keen to maintain good relations with the German government, which has supported the project.
Republican lawmakers in particular had pushed the Biden administration to use financial sanctions to shut down the pipeline.
“If the Putin regime is allowed to terminate this pipeline, it will be because the Biden administration has chosen to let it happen,” Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said via a statement from his office. “I want to be clear: this pipeline is not just a commercial project that could harm our relationship with Berlin. It is a scheme of Russian malign influence that threatens to deepen Europe’s energy dependence on Moscow, make Ukraine more vulnerable to Russian aggression, and provide billions of dollars in Putin’s coffers.
Sanctions against shipping companies building the pipeline could further delay completion of Nord Stream 2, which is over 90% complete, the sources say. Opponents of the pipeline are also counting on the German Green Party, which opposed the pipeline, to win seats in the parliamentary elections scheduled for September.