US lawmakers have agreed to extend sanctions on companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, just as the Russian-led company behind the project reportedly resumed construction — about a year after work was halted.
Under the draft of the annual US defense policy legislation for 2021, agreed to by US lawmakers on Thursday, more firms involved in the €9.5 billion ($11.6 billion) pipeline to deliver gas from Russia's Siberia region to Germany could be hit with penalties. Companies that facilitate the construction of the pipeline, including ships that help operations to lay pipelines or move rock formations on the seabed, would face sanctions, along with those that provide insurance, reinsurance, testing, inspection and certification services.
More than 120 companies from 12 European countries could be affected, according to reports. The defense bill still has to be passed by Congress. The construction of Nord Stream 2 is nearly complete. Just a 120-kilometer (74-mile) stretch of the 1,230-kilometer pipeline needs finishing. The pipeline will double Russian deliveries of natural gas to Germany, Europe's largest economy. As well as the US, Poland and Ukraine oppose the construction, saying Nord Stream 2 will give Moscow a stranglehold over Germany. The German government has said the pipeline will create a direct and secure energy supply, with gas demand in the country growing as it cuts dependence on nuclear and coal power.
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