Farewell US Ambassador to Grenelle: new threats to the “Nord stream — 2” (Handelsblatt, Germany)

Richard Grenell (Richard Grenell) was not made in Berlin a lot of friends, to which he, however, never wanted. Leaving the country, the U.S. Ambassador did not come here as a diplomat, but as the standard-bearer of the ideology of “America first” President Donald trump, and in the same spirit, he said goodbye to Germany.

In his characteristic undiplomatic tone Grenell demanded from the German government to reconsider its policy towards Russia. “Germany needs to stop feeding this monster while she is not paying for NATO,” he said in an interview with the newspaper “Handelsblatt”.

Sunday Grenell left Berlin. Apparently, in Germany, he won’t be back.

The fact that Germany imports Russian gas, has long been annoying the Americans. Therefore, with the Baltic pipeline “Nord stream — 2” they fight with the tenacity that the German government has long been underestimated. At the end of last year, the United States managed to stop the construction, threatening sanctions Western specialized firms working with their vessels pipe at the bottom of the Baltic sea. Since then, the Russian attempt to finish the pipeline on their own. For this purpose they sent two ships in the German coastal waters.

USA angrily watching the movements of vessels “Akademik Chersky” and “fortune”. Americans believe that Russian in the end will be able to finish the pipeline. So Washington is planning a new economic-political intervention.

Last week Grenell met with senators and congressmen. “Further sanctions approved by the MPs regardless of their party affiliation, he said. — Despite the election campaign,the relevant laws can be taken quickly.”

Now the purpose of the Americans is this: if we are unable to stop to finish the construction, it is impossible to prevent the entry of the pipeline into operation. It is not yet clear what form the sanctions will gain. One possibility is to impose trade restrictions companies serving the gas pipeline special equipment. In Washington, also discusses sanctions against companies — buyers of Russian gas.

The government of Germany is concerned: “When the pandemic coronavirus has on countries across the planet a lot of pressure, not the time to promote the escalation spiral and to face new extraterritorial, that is contrary to international law, the sanctions”, — said the official representative of the Minister of economy Peter Altmaier (CDU)

Nord Stream AG 2, 100% owned by Russian Gazprom and tries to behave in a pointedly quiet. As has noticed a press-the Secretary of the company, the threat of sanctions — a typical tool of US policy to put pressure on the European partners of the “Nord stream — 2”. He further said, “As project developers, we refer to the European Commission, which calls the sanctions a violation of international law”.

Indeed, the critical attitude of the European Commission to the sanctions threatened by the Americans runs like a thread through all of her statements in recent months. Foreign Minister of Germany Heiko Maas (Heiko Maas, SPD) has also repeatedly condemned the sanctions.

But neither the EU nor the German government is still unable to find effective means against U.S. sanctions. The act of 2019 in relation to the “Nord stream — 2” is directed primarily against the Swiss company Allseas, who worked under contract with the company — the operator of the pipeline.

Specialized vessels of Allseas company paved most of the gas pipes. The Americans threatened the company in December, if she will continue to work in accordance with the contract, will jeopardize their economic existence. The company gave in to pressure and stopped working.

Strong desire to finish the pipeline

Since the end of last year the construction of the pipeline suspended. “We have to look for new solutions to strip the remaining 6% of the pipeline,” — said the representative of Nord Stream AG, 2. The pipeline consists of two lines, each with a length of 1230 km. In one thread left to lay 85 miles of pipes, another 65 kilometers. The majority of uncompleted segments are located in Danish territorial waters.

“How 2 Nord Stream AG, and the companies supporting our project, are confident that the early introduction of the pipeline into operation in the interests of European energy security, European consumers, economic competitiveness of the EU and commitments to climate protection” — said the representative of the company further. European energy companies Engie, OMV, Shell and Wintershall Dea Uniper are investors of the project.

The desire to finish the construction of the pipeline is large. The chief of Gazprom Alexei Miller said that gas exports on the “Nord stream — 2” will begin at the end of this year. Russian President Vladimir Putin put it in the same spirit. But Nord Stream AG 2 silent.

However, it was impossible not to notice that the Russian in recent weeks has taken to the area of construction of the two vessels: “Akademik Chersky”, built in 2015, the pipelay fleet owned by Gazprom, is close to the port of Mukran on rügen island. There moored “Fortuna”, which, however, cannot be used for deep-sea work.

Vessel owned by Allseas would have coped with the laying of pipes for a few weeks, not months. Will it be possible to finish the construction with the use of “academic plan” and “Fortune” and if so, how soon, at the moment it’s hard to say. The Russian side is not interested to open their cards. But in the industry there are various opinions about the effectiveness of both the Russian vessels.

However, all agree that they work will move significantly slower than with the courts Allseas. Experts believe that pure time of building up readiness of the pipeline may be about five months. Industry experts say that the “academic left” in recent months has undergone a technical upgrade.

But “fortune”, according to insiders, has a dynamic positioning system, which demand the Danish authorities to have the opportunity to more accurately monitor the correctness of the pipeline. To “Academician Chersky” this system is. However, in February the Danish Supervisory authority has informed that is ready to afford to lay pipes and vessels without such a system, but this requires support from another vessel equipped with a positioning system.

In the Bundestag, the US actions are causing growing concern. “The Americans are pursuing only one goal — to sell their shale gas. The conditions for this in view of falling prices in the global gas markets has become more complicated, so USA again increased their pressure,” protested Gremmels Timon (Timon Gremmels), member of the SPD faction in the Bundestag, making the message on the “Nord stream — 2”.

Foreign policy experts do not listen

The suspicion that the US is in this business to pursue primarily their own export interests, fueled by the fact that the Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz (Ted Cruz), a former rival, and now a loyal ally of President trump, became the mouthpiece of the critics of the “Nord stream — 2”. While Texas has large reserves of gas.

But the problem only mercenary motives does not reflect the complex political dynamics in Washington. The Democrats and Republicans virtually no unity in anything — so a strong polarization in the era of trump. But when it comes to sanctions against Russia, they again show unanimity.

Democrats want to punish Putin for interfering in the election campaign of 2016, Republicans reject the charge that they with Putin at the same time. And as many of the Eastern European countries opposed the “Nord stream — 2”, many American politicians believe that acting in the interests of Europe.

Warnings of foreign policy experts that such a policy is harming German-American relations practically do not reach the goal. “We are now living through the most serious crisis in transatlantic relations over the past decades”, — said the famous American ex-diplomat Nicholas burns (Nicholas Burns) in an interview with “Handelsblatt”. However, burns hopes that the German government on its own initiative, will cease support of the pipeline: “”Nord stream — 2″ is a bug, it would allow Russia to access energy much of Europe”.

In Germany the “Nord stream — 2” many opponents. Some representatives of the CDU/CSU project is still not for everyone. “I understand that in the face of personal interest of former Chancellor schröder from the SPD in the “Nord stream — 2″ our partners are experiencing anger, — said the politician from the CDU jürgen Hardt (Jürgen Hardt), specializing in foreign policy. — We need to continue to conduct explanatory work in the EU and in NATO.”

Clearly against the pipeline and act “Green”. “Nord stream — 2 — one of the biggest mistakes that the Federal government in the field of energy and foreign policy”, — considers “green” politician Manuel Sarrazin (Manuel Sarrazin). — Nevertheless, the Ambassador Grenelle is political chatter, which is not nothing. Including in the fight against the project.”