Nord Stream 2 drives wedge between US and Brussels over Russian sanctions

Concerns that new US sanctions on Russia could adversely effect European energy companies involved in Russia-related projects – particular the construction of the  Nord Stream 2 (NS2) undersea natural gas pipelines between Russia and Germany – has prompted EC Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to call for an urgent review of how Brussels should respond if the US Congress pushes ahead with plans to punish Moscow for its alleged intervention in last year’s elections.
The German companies  Wintershall and  Uniper, France’s Engie , Austria’s OMV and the Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell are all heavily involved in the project, but NS2 has opened divisions between its supporters  in Western Europe  and several central and eastern European countries (led by Poland)  who are concerned that it will increase energy dependence on Russia. Juncker’s plan to argue that the potential economic fallout for Europe from the planned US sanctions stretches far beyond that one project, is therefore likely to provoke a lively debate when it is discussed at an EC meeting tomorrow. 
A note prepared for the meeting tomorrow and seen by the Financial Times,  warns that they could hit the “maintenance and upgrade” of pipelines in Russia that feed gas into Ukraine, as well as pipeline projects in the Caspian region and the development of a gasfield off the coast of Egypt.  
“The measures could impact a potentially large number of European companies doing legitimate business under EU measures with Russian entities in the railways, financial, shipping or mining sectors, among others,” it predicts,  and proposes that Brussels “should stand ready to act within days” if the US measures were “adopted without EU concerns being taken into account”. 
The House of Representative  is expected to vote on the legislation – which would also impose sanctions on Iran and North Korea – later today.

Source: FT