The World’s Most Controversial Pipeline Hits Another Hurdle

DNV GL, a Norwegian risk management and quality assurance firm, told Reuters on Thursday it had suspended work on the gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 to avoid sanctions under the recently expanded U.S. sanctions on the Russia-led project.  

Last month, the U.S. Department of State said it was broadening the sanctions against service providers and those funding vessels involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2 in a fresh attempt to prevent the project from completing. 

According to the new guidance in the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act (PEESA), the United States is including in the sanctions companies “providing services or facilities for upgrades or installation of equipment for those vessels, or funding for upgrades or installation of equipment for those vessels.” 

DNV GL said in emailed comments to Reuters that “Under these new guidelines, we find DNV GL’s verification activities linked to vessels with equipment serving the Nord Stream 2 project to be sanctionable. DNV GL has therefore ceased delivery of services that may fall under the scope of PEESA.” 

The scope of the Norwegian firm’s work on Nord Stream 2 included a document review, observing construction to verify that standards are being met, and monitoring the testing and preparation of equipment used by pipe-laying vessels, DNV GL told Reuters. 

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is nearly finished, but there is still work to be done on pipe-laying in the territorial waters of Denmark. 

It’s unclear how the ceasing of service delivery from the Norwegian firm would affect the project. 

The United States, several European countries, including the Baltic states and Poland, as well as the European Union (EU), have expressed concern about Russia using gas sales and its gas monopoly Gazprom as a political tool.

In July, the United States warned companies helping Russia to complete Nord Stream 2 that they should ‘get out now’ or face consequences, as the Trump administration stepped up efforts to stop the construction of the controversial Russia-led pipeline in Europe. 

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