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US senators file a new bill that could put an end to the realisation of Nord Stream 2

US Senators Ted Cruz, Jeanne Shaheen, Ron Johnson, John Barrasso and Tom Cotton have filed a new, bipartisan US sanctions legislation, called the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Clarification Act, that will make it impossible to complete the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

This legislation follows last year’s passage of the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act (PEESA) as part of the annual US defence budget bill, which imposed sanctions on the use of deep-sea pipe-laying vessels to build Nord Stream 2.

Ukraine’s oil and gas company Naftogaz said to be grateful to the Senators and other friends of Ukraine in the United States who ensured passage of PEESA last year and who have now introduced this new PEESA Clarification Act.

The PEESA Clarification Act suggests imposing sanctions against companies that engage in any “pipe-laying activities,” or that provide “underwriting services or insurance” services for pipe-laying vessels. It imposes also sanctions against companies providing “services or facilities for technology upgrades or installation of welding equipment for, or retrofitting or tethering of,” pipe-laying vessels and finally against those providing “services for the testing, inspection, or certification necessary for or associated with the operation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.”

Ukraine ceased to import gas from Russia in 2015, following the 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. Since then, Russia aimed to weaken the position of Ukraine as a transit country and eventually cut it off from the shipments by securing alternative routes to its European markets through the construction of the Nord Stream 2 and Turkish Stream pipelines.

Naftogaz is looking at an immediate passing of the PEESA Clarification Act by the Senate as the mean to put an end to the realisation of the Nord Stream 2 project and thereof to what the company considers as a threat to European security.

“Naftogaz will continue its advocacy campaign in the United States and Europe to safeguard Ukrainian, European and transatlantic security interests,” reads a company’s statement.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline has been again under scrutiny over the last few months since Polish oil and gas company PGNiG was allowed to join a procedure in which Nord Stream 2 was seeking a derogation from the European Union’s Third Energy Package requirements. Early in May, Germany’s Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur), rejected the application of the operator of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as, in order to ask for a derogation, the gas interconnector should have been completed before 23 May 2019.

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