Can Moscow finish Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline despite US sanctions? ‘Never say never’ says Gazprom

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Russia’s $10 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline – which will pump gas more than 1,200 km to Germany – has been sanctioned by Washington, with US officials claiming Moscow can’t finish the project. “Never say never,” Gazprom replied.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a joint project between Russian energy giant Gazprom and five European firms, was sanctioned by the US Congress in December. The State Department followed this with an ultimatum to the European firms working on the project: “immediately cease construction-related activity.”

The warning was enough to scare away Swiss pipelaying firm Allseas Group SA, and for those remaining, another sanctions bill is under consideration in Washington, German business newspaper Handelsblatt reported this month.

Also on Nord Stream 2 investors pledge to meet their commitments despite renewed threats of US sanctions

With around 160km of pipeline unfinished, US Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette told Bloomberg on Saturday that “it’s going to be a very long delay, because Russia doesn’t have the technology” to finish the pipe without Allseas’ expertise.

“Never say never,” Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov responded on Sunday, speaking to Russian business news outlet RBK.

The US’ sanctions efforts may have delayed the pipeline’s completion, but Kupriyanov will likely be proven right. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak announced late last year that the remaining 160km will be finished by a Russian pipelaying vessel, currently en route to the North Sea from Russia’s east coast. Moscow now estimates the pipeline will be finished by early 2021 at the latest.

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