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US gives companies 30 days to avoid Nord Stream 2 sanctions

Washington — The US will sanction any company involved in construction of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline if its operations on the pipeline are not wound down within 30 days, the US State Department said Friday.

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In a fact sheet, State's Bureau of Energy Resources said the US "will impose sanctions unless related parties immediately demonstrate good faith efforts to wind-down."

"Related parties need to finish wind-down within 30 days," the fact sheet states. "Any company involved in Nord Stream 2 needs to look carefully at what that means for their operations."

The fact sheet was issued a week after US President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law. The NDAA is a defense spending bill which calls for the US State and Treasury departments to submit a report within 60 days that identifies "vessels that engaged in pipe-laying at depths of 100 feet or more below sea level for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, the TurkStream pipeline project or any project that is a successor to either such project."

Friday's fact sheet said that report will be completed "expeditiously."

"The United States' intention is to stop construction of Nord Stream 2," the fact sheet said.

Switzerland-based Allseas -- the project's pipe layer -- suspended its pipe-laying activity last Friday to comply with new sanctions imposed by the US.

Still, Russian energy minister Alexander Novak told reporters Friday that Nord Stream 2 will begin flowing by the end of 2020

"One of the options [to finish the Nord Stream 2] is a vessel in the Far East, but it will take some time to prepare it," Novak said.

The 55 Bcm/year pipeline was originally scheduled to start operations at the end of 2019, but is facing new delays due to the new threat of US sanctions.

According to the Nord Stream 2 company, about 160 km, or 100 miles, of the gas pipeline remains to be laid.

-- Brian Scheid, brian.scheid@spglobal.com

-- Anastasia Dmitrieva, anastasia.dmitrieva@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Gary Gentile, newsdesk@spglobal.com