The United States and Germany are expected to sign a deal soon on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will bring gas from Russia to Europe.
The nord stream 2 pipeline update is an agreement that the U.S. and Germany are expected to reach soon.
According to officials from Berlin and Washington, the US and Germany have struck an agreement that would enable the construction of a contentious Russian natural-gas pipeline. The deal is expected to be announced as soon as Wednesday, putting an end to years of friction between the two allies.
The Biden administration will essentially waive Washington’s long-standing objection to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, signaling a shift in the US attitude and putting an end to years of uncertainty over the project’s fate, which has come to dominate European energy projections. Germany will commit to help Ukraine in energy-related initiatives and diplomacy as part of the deal.
Under the past two presidential administrations, US officials opposed Nord Stream 2 because they feared it would strengthen Moscow’s economic and political might in Europe. Critics have claimed that the pipeline would enable the Kremlin to strengthen European reliance on Russian natural gas, which it will then use to blackmail US allies. Russia has denied these claims.
In May, President Biden, wanting better relations with Europe and, in particular, Berlin, lifted US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 AG, a Swiss-registered Russian pipeline company, and its top executive, indicating a shift in US policy.
Officials said Tuesday that Mr. Biden continues to oppose the pipeline and sees it as a ploy by the Kremlin to extend its influence over others, but that an unified group of friends is the most effective approach to fight Moscow.
Russia will be allowed to increase the amount of natural gas sent directly to Germany through the pipeline under the Baltic Sea, bypassing an existing route via Ukraine, according to the US-Germany agreement.
According to a source involved with the negotiations, a deal was close to being reached and would be completed in the coming days. According to another source involved with the negotiations, an agreement may be revealed as early as Wednesday.
Germany and the United States agreed to invest $50 million in Ukrainian green-tech infrastructure, including renewable energy and associated sectors, as part of a four-point agreement. In the Three Seas Initiative, a Central European diplomatic platform, Germany would also support energy discussions.
Last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with President Biden on a farewell visit to the US.
photo credit: press pool/Alex Edelman
Berlin and Washington would also work to guarantee that Ukraine receives the approximately $3 billion in yearly transit payments that Russia pays to Kyiv under the existing deal, which runs until 2024. Officials have not said how they plan to guarantee that Russia continues to make payments.
Officials in Washington also said that the US will maintain the right to impose future pipeline penalties in the event of acts considered to be Russian energy coercion.
Mr. Biden told German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a White House visit last week that “we continue to oppose the Nord Stream 2 pipeline,” according to State Department spokesman Ned Price, who also noted that the project was 90 percent complete when Mr. Biden took office and that officials did not believe sanctions could stop it.
German authorities said they rejected a US demand that the pipeline’s operational regulations contain a so-called kill-switch provision. This would have allowed Berlin to halt gas deliveries if Russia took strong action against its neighbors or Western friends. German negotiators claimed that such government intervention in a privately held enterprise might be challenged in court.
Officials said Berlin decided not to oppose further penalties on Russia’s energy industry.
Officials in Berlin and Washington, as well as a legislative source familiar with the matter, detailed the Biden administration’s deal with Germany. Following a Reuters story on a potential settlement, details of the accord started to circulate Monday evening.
After Moscow annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea and fomented unrest in the country’s east in 2014, Kyiv views the existing gas-transit network in Ukraine and the income it generates as a check against Russia. Supporters of Ukraine in the United States have resisted any deal that would allow the pipeline to be built.
The Senate Banking Committee’s leading member, Pat Toomey (R., Pa.), stated, “Any agreement that permits for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is fundamentally defective.” Mr. Toomey asked the government to implement penalties in order to “stop Moscow’s attempts to weaponize Europe’s gas supply.”
According to one of the individuals involved with the negotiations, one of the main goals of the upcoming agreement is to promote Ukrainian energy independence, while also ensuring that Russia “cannot use energy as a coercive weapon against Ukraine or any country.”
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Despite the United States’ waiver of penalties in May, this source stated the US would continue to investigate businesses connected in the project and would make it plain that “companies face sanctions if they are participating in Nord Stream 2.”
A top State Department policy advisor, Derek Chollet, is in Kyiv this week with a German counterpart to brief Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the specifics of the deal. Mr. Chollet is planning a similar trip to Poland, which has been vocal in its opposition to the project.
The agreement has alarmed Ukrainian authorities, who see the existing pipeline network as a rare source of leverage against Russia in the seven-year-old war between the two nations. Mr. Putin delivered the latest in a series of polemics attacking Ukrainian sovereignty last week. Ukraine supporters worry that making the current pipeline obsolete would give Russia more military freedom on Ukrainian soil.
Mr. Biden reminded Ms. Merkel last week “that we have continuing concerns about how the project threatens European energy security, weakens Ukraine’s security, and undermines the security of our…allies and partners,” according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
Mr. Biden ordered employees to work together with German colleagues to achieve an agreement, according to Ms. Psaki.
According to sources close to the talks, the announcement of the agreement was postponed to prevent overshadowing Ms. Merkel’s final visit to the White House. According to individuals acquainted with Ms. Merkel’s thinking, the completion of the pipeline, which may happen later this year, will be a watershed moment in her political career.
—This story was co-written by Catherine Lucey and William Mauldin in Washington.
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Nord Stream 2 is a natural gas pipeline that will be transporting Russian natural gas to Western Europe. The U.S.-German deal on the project is expected soon. Reference: nord stream 2 pipeline map.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will Nord Stream 2 be completed?
The Nord Stream 2 project will be completed as planned.
Who pays for Nord Stream 2?
Germany and Russia are both investing in Nord Stream 2. It is a joint project that will be funded by the two countries.
Who is building Nord Stream 2?
Nord Stream 2 is a natural gas pipeline that will run from Russia to Germany.
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