The annual US Defense policy bill includes provisions for sanctions against constructing the “Nord stream-2” gas pipeline, two congressional aides said.
The sanctions provided for in the compromise bill of the Senate and House of Representatives will affect companies that provide construction assistance, including ships, as well as companies that provide insurance or secondary insurance for construction and pipeline certification in Denmark.
Gazprom and Germany insist that the project is exclusively commercial in nature. The demand for gas in Germany is growing as it reduces dependence on nuclear and coal power.
The Trump administration and lawmakers from both parties believe that building the pipeline will increase Russian President Vladimir Putin’s economic and political influence in Europe. The Trump administration also supports increasing exports of liquefied natural gas to Europe.
Supporters of the sanctions hope that these measures will prevent Gazprom from using the Russian pipe-laying vessel Akademik Chersky to complete the last 160-kilometer section of the Danish waters pipeline.
The agreement, first reported by Bloomberg, includes language from an earlier bill initiated by democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Senator Ted Cruz.
Jens Mueller, a spokesman for the project operator, said the company has not yet evaluated the bill’s details but assumes that the Cruz and Shaheen initiative will directly or indirectly affect about 120 companies from more than 12 European countries.
“Governments and the European Commission should protect European companies from illegal extraterritorial sanctions,” he said.
The bill also includes a proposal by Congressman Eliot Engel to notify allies before sanctions are imposed. Engel, who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee, opposes “Nord stream-2,” but warns that sanctions could hurt European companies more than Russia.