Putin’s Controversial Pipeline: Nord Stream 2 & Turkish Stream Targeted by US Sanctions

Written by | Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

A defense bill that was agreed on by the US House and Senate on Monday (9 December) will force Donald Trump’s administration to impose sanctions on companies involved in the Russian-sponsored gas pipelines Nord Stream 2 and Turkish Stream. As a part of the $738 billion 2020 draft US defense budget, the text reads that sanctions are introduced in defense of the European energy security, threatened by Russian projects. The draft budget also, among other things, forbids the sale of F-35 stealth jets to Turkey, as a result of the purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems by Ankara, and approves $300 million of military aid to Ukraine.
This new threat of sanctions comes as the Nord Stream 2 construction, which aims to double the current supply of Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea, is about to be completed, after Denmark removed the last obstacle earlier in October. The first gas is expected to flow by mid-2020. Meanwhile, Turkish Stream aims to start bringing Russian gas to Turkey under the Black Sea in January 2020. A second portion of the pipeline called Balkan Stream is under construction and will transport Russian gas to Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Austria.
Western companies ENGIE, OMV, Shell, Uniper and Wintershall Dea have signed up to help fund the Nord Stream 2 AG project and are also involved in the production and the offshore laying of pipes for both pipelines. The construction of the 474 km of Balkan Stream across Bulgarian territory is carried out by a Saudi group Arkad. Unlike Germany, Bulgaria is hardly able to withstand US pressure. Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently warned that if Bulgaria dragged its feet, the pipeline would find another route. Both Nord Stream 2 and Turkish Stream aim at bringing gas to clients in Europe while bypassing Ukraine. The threat of US sanctions is welcome in Ukraine that has been trying to negotiate the volume of future gas transits across its territory.

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