Gazprom keeps a plan alive to complete the Nord Stream 2 project and addresses it, a spokesman for the holding company said at the VTB Capital Investment conference of August 19. Although the latest report folder by Uniper energy concern – one of Gazprom's financial partners for Nord Stream 2 – contained a warning to investors about the failure to complete offshore construction over new sanctions being prepared by the US authorities against the pipeline. "Tightening US sanctions against the gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 increases the likelihood that the project will be delayed or not completed at all," the document read. After entertaining this news in the media, Juniper head Andreas Schierenbeck had to explain that the company's strategic bet is still the trans-Baltic gas pipeline project's eventual success.
The US-EU and US-Germany political squabble over the new gas pipeline's future is underway. The Europeans don't know chalk from cheese as regards the American authorities' interference in the sovereign affairs of the European Union, while the White House keeps talking about the project's certain monopolistic hazard to the Old World, and imposes an allegedly super-competitive choice of a "democratic" resource, i.e. liquefied natural gas (LNG). Washington strives to disrupt Gazprom's gas transport project through a variety of sanctions means. There are also private "overseas" threats against companies engaged. For instance, August 5 saw a group of US senators (Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton and Ron Johnson) write a letter to leaders of Faehrhafen Sassnitz, the company managing the port of Mukran, where the pipe sections are stored to complete Nord Stream 2, and threaten them with "financial distress" if further engaged in assisting the project. The message's high-sounding words were published by the Handelsblatt newspaper. The senators particularly demanded to immediately cease using the port as a logistics cluster for Nord Stream 2. As you know, pipe handler Akademik Cherskiy lies in this port, being the one to possibly accomplish Nord Stream 2, as head of the Russian Energy Ministry Alexander Novak said.
Anti-Russian propaganda outlets are now trying to actively counteract Nord Stream 2 through provocative tools. The German press is fomenting a strange story about the poisoning of opposition leader Alexey Navalny, who was taken to a well-known German clinic for treatment. Those interested in project disruption are eager to make the Russian authorities responsible and suggest that Germany give up on Nord Stream 2 as a countermeasure and penance.
Berlin's official response was not long in coming: German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the Russian authorities to promptly make an exhaustive inquiry into the incident with Navalny. But Merkel did not imply any connection of this episode with the economic vector. German authorities and businesses are well-known supporters of developing energy cooperation with Russia.
Moreover, apart from the radical signals in the German media as regards Nord Stream 2, there are also adequate analytical publications in favor of backing the Russian gas pipeline project. For instance, the press recorded calls to abandon the dollar for the euro in trade deals, and also formulated a proposal to the European Union countries to go over a systematic response to the growing threat of tightened US sanctions. American criticism of Germany for the "excessive" financial backing to Russia under gas contracts is referred to as inconsequent amid US purchases of Russian energy resources. For one, American companies are willingly buying Russian crude oil. Although the United States is not part of the pool forming Russia's oil export base, the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation reported significant progress in 2019 Russian oil supplies, with purchases amounting to 4.7 million tons compared to the 1.8 million tons in 2018. Besides, in the cooler seasons the Americans practice receiving LNG-loaded tankers from the Russian plant on Yamal.