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Published On: Fri, Dec 1st, 2017

US perceives Nord Stream 2 as Russian attempt to undermine Ukraine

nsnbc : The United States believes that the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will pose security risks in the region and advance Russia’s goal of undermining Ukraine. Meanwhile, most EU countries perceive an unstable Ukraine as a threat to the region’s energy security and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as one way of mitigating the risk.

Heather Nauert_USA_State Department_Dec 2017At a press briefing on Thursday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said: “We agree with many of our European partners that Nord Stream 2 and a multi-line Turkish Stream would reinforce Russian dominance in Europe’s gas markets. It would reduce opportunities for diversification of energy sources.”

She also noted that construction of Russian gas pipelines would pose security risks in the region. “It would pose security risks in an already tense Baltic Sea region and it would advance Russia’s goal of undermining Ukraine – that’s a particular concern of ours – by ending Ukraine’s role as a transit country for Russian gas exports to get to Europe,” the U.S. Department of State Spokesperson stressed.

Nauert also noted that construction of Nord Stream 2 would concentrate about 75 percent of Russian gas imports to the EU through a single route, creating a potential checkpoint that would significantly increase Europe’s vulnerability to a supply disruption. Nauert ignored that fact that the Turkish-stream pipeline, among others, aims to avoid such a chokepoint.

However, in early November 2017 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the Association of European Businesses in the Russian Federation that Moscow will start construction of the second line of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, but only if the European Union provides legal guarantees.

The Turkish Stream replaces South Stream, a pipeline that was due to run to Central Europe via the Black Sea and Bulgaria, but was scrapped in December 2014 under EU pressure because of disputes following what the EU decries as Russia’s annexation of Crimea and what Moscow describes as Crimea’s accession into the Russian Federation that March.

The Turkish Stream pipeline is expected to be constructed under the Black Sea, bypassing Ukraine, with one line aimed at supplying Russian gas to Turkey and the second line planned for the transit of gas from Russia to the EU. The route of the second line has not yet been finalized.

“Given the negative experience of the South Stream, we will be ready to do that work [to develop the second line of the pipeline] only after receiving firm legal guarantees from Brussels,” the minister told the Association of European Businesses in the Russian Federation on Oct. 31, according to a foreign ministry statement.  Lavrov said that the growing needs of countries in Southern and Southeast Europe could justify the extension of the second branch of Turkish Stream to the EU.

“We see considerable interest in this from a number of EU governments … I still hope that common sense should prevail, because in the energy sector we are natural, interdependent partners,” he said. Lavrov also criticized EU policy, saying it was “hardly necessary to say in detail that attempts to isolate Russia, to punish it for an independent foreign policy, to make it change have failed.”

The total cost of the project is estimated at $7 billion. Russian energy giant Gazprom has already signed roadmap agreements for pipeline development with Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary. In early September, Gazprom said that work on the Turkish Stream is moving ahead steadily and deals with contractor Petrofac for the construction of on-ground gas pipelines and a gas terminal near Kiyikoy in Turkey were signed. The company also said that it will allocate 50 billion rubles ($854.2 million) for the Turkish Stream pipeline project in 2017, raising its original funding from 42 billion rubles.

In 2013 the European Union adopted the 3rd EU Energy Package that aimed at re-negotiating already signed contracts. The 3rd Energy Package outlawed that one single company could control both the gas resources and the distribution network. In 2013 this policy led to a spat between Russia and the EU over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and Moscow is likely to attempt to pressure the EU either to make concessions with regard to that policy, or guarantees that any contract on Turkish Stream will not be affected by eventual later changes in EU rules and regulations.

In a phone conversation with nsnbc international editor-in-chief Christof Lehmann, Friday morning, Lehmann commented on Washington’s position: “Without going into too many detail, with the current atmosphere in the USA and under the current administration, whether it wants it or not, any project that increases Russian – European or Eurasian integration challenges the United States position in Europe and is likely to be perceived negatively. .. The question “who is destabilizing Ukraine” is forth those who are concerned with European energy security not as important as the question “how can we diversify to mitigate the risk linked to a chronically unstable Ukraine”.

F/AK – nsnbc 04.11.2017

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  1. George says:

    More theater of the Absurd. Failure to acknowledge who created an unstable Ukraine in the first place is the road block to any progress and that is the main reason not ““It would pose security risks in an already tense Baltic Sea region and it would advance Russia’s goal of undermining Ukraine – that’s a particular concern of ours – by ending Ukraine’s role as a transit country for Russian gas exports to get to Europe,”.

    That cat has been out of the bag for sometime and has not changed on just who is responsible for death and destruction for business conducted unilaterally for a mono transnational criminal fascist cabal. See the “Iron Law of Oligarchy”.

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