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No legal grounds to suspend Nord Stream-2 construction - Russian senior security official

The gas pipeline fully complies with international maritime and environmental laws and the Third Energy Package, Deputy Secretary of the Russian Security Council Alexander Venediktov stressed

MOSCOW, June 15. /TASS/. There are no legal grounds to suspend or stop Nord Stream-2 construction, the project’s opponents are using unlawful means, Deputy Secretary of the Russian Security Council Alexander Venediktov said in an interview with the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily on Sunday, commenting on US Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s statement on a new sanction-imposing law geared against the gas pipeline.

"The US secretary’s statement is not the first one in a row of demarches against our project. But there are absolutely no legal grounds to suspend or stop the project. It fully complies with international maritime and environmental laws, the Third Energy Package, Finland’s, Sweden’s, Denmark’s and Germany’s laws. The project’s opponents are fully aware of that and resort to instruments outside the legal framework, use illegal tools that are not merely geared against the Russian pipeline but also threaten the global economy," he stressed.

He stressed that Russia’s partners under the project are interested in its soonest implementation. This interest, in his words, is purely economic as is motivation of the project’s opponents.

"The perspective of having a strong rival on the gas market is scaring big energy corporations, the more so as liquefied gas they offer as an alternative to our pipeline gas costs by about 30% higher. No wonder in such an unfavorable environment any argument against the competitor would do," he said.

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in Kiev in May Washington planned to impose sanctions against the Nord Stream-2 project. A spokesman for Germany’s ministry of economy and energy said in turn that his country’s government had took notice of the US side’s statements but was against restrictions which could have extraterritorial impacts. Rainer Seele, CEO of Austria’s oil giant OMV, accused the United States of seeking to dictate an energy policy to the European Union and called on Brussels to protect all companies that could face Washington’s sanctions for their participation in the Nord Stream-2 construction.

Driven by geopolitical considerations, Washington openly opposes the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline and is taking effort to block this project. Experts say this way the United States is seeking to push supplies of its liquefied gas to the European market, although it is much more costly than Russia’s. The 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) envisages a possibility of using unilateral restrictions against companies participating in the implementation of the Nord Stream-2 project.

Nord Stream-2 is an international project for the construction of a gas pipeline that will run across the bottom of the Baltic Sea from the Russian coast to Germany bypassing transit states, such as Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and other Eastern European and Baltic countries.

The new 1,200 kilometer pipeline, basically following the same route as Nord Stream, will traverse economic zones and territorial water of five countries, namely Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany. The pipeline’s capacity will be 55 billion cubic meters of gas a year and it is planned to be commissioned in late 2019.

Nord Stream 2 AG is the operator of the pipeline construction. Its sole stakeholder is Russia’s Gazprom. Gazprom’s European project partners are Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall, Austria’s OMV, France’s Engie, and Royal Dutch Shell (the UK and the Netherlands) that are to finance 50% of the project, which is estimated at 9.5 billion euro.