“There is a tough fight”

Handelsblatt: Mrs. Westphal, the planned US sanctions against Russia are seen as a deliberate attack on the pipeline project Nord stream — 2 concern Gazprom. Is it too superficial?

Kirsten Westphal: Yes, a project of the U.S. Senate goes far beyond the Nord stream — 2. These sanctions would affect any firm that is involved in Russia in the construction of new or maintenance of existing oil and gas pipelines. Such secondary sanctions as extraterritorial scale painful affect European companies.

— How could specifically look these sanctions?

Even relatively small investments that directly or substantially aimed at the preservation, expansion, and construction, modernization and operation of the pipelines should be subject to fines. Thereby violated several principles of transatlantic cooperation. New unilateral sanctions are not agreed with the partner for the EU and implemented jointly. It is not only about how to impose sanctions on the future of Russia on production, and that in the near future to restrict the export of oil and natural gas. This will have an impact on the gas supply to Europe. If any European company operating in Russia in the sector of gas and oil pipelines must rely on sanctions the United States, the Americans will be in the hands of the powerful means of pressure.

Whether the Americans in fact to prepare the ground for exporting its gas to Europe?

Here are the interests, because Americans have been able to strengthen its position in the international gas business. There is stiff competition for market share. Still it was not like the United States and Russia competed with each other for sales in Europe. While Europe benefits from it. However, the picture may change.

— How do You assess the possible economic consequences for Germany?

— Then the Europeans and especially Germany would have to get more liquefied natural gas from the United States. Thus, the German export balance would shift in favor of the United States. The excess of German exports over imports for the United States as a thorn in the eye.

— Do You think it possible that the revolution in fracking may encourage Americans to get involved in the European gas business?

— Is not unexpected. The Americans have been using fracking possibilities for foreign policy action. They use them now to defend their interests. However, the fact that they want to strengthen their position so blatantly with sanctions against Russia, is surprising. Concerns also have implications for transatlantic cooperation and cohesion of the EU.