A controversial pipeline plan that would increase the supply of Russian gas to German industry is dangerous for Europe, according to the US deputy energy secretary.
“We will continue to oppose that particular pipeline,” Dan Brouillette said of the project, known as Nord Stream 2. “There’s no economic basis for that pipeline. For German national security and the EU, that’s dangerous.”
The blunt US warning threatens to widen a divide over energy issues after German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday backed Nord Stream 2, saying the pipeline would provide energy security to Europe’s biggest economy. The nations have also drifted apart on climate issues as US President Donald Trump doubles down on coal power while Germany tries to cut use of the high-emissions fuel.
The project to boost the capacity of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has also divided EU governments, with mostly eastern nations led by Poland concerned about the bloc’s increasing dependence on Russian gas and President Vladimir Putin’s meddling in Ukraine, which the link would bypass.
The pipeline’s supporters pushed back against the US and other critics behind closed doors at last weekend’s Munich Security Conference, Brouillette said. Some European countries accuse the US of opposing Nord Stream 2 so it can export more liquefied natural gas to the continent.
“I don’t apologize for that,” Brouillette said. “If US LNG is able to compete on the world marketplace including Europe, I think that’s a good thing.” The new German government is considering the nation’s first liquefied natural gas import terminal as part of efforts to diversify, following similar projects this decade by Lithuania and Poland.
Uniper SE, Engie SA, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, OMV AG and BASF SE’s Wintershall are European partners of Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom PJSC in the project to expand Nord Stream by 55bn cubic meters a year, which would double its capacity to almost 30% of current EU demand. The new pipeline would probably deprive Ukraine and other nations including Slovakia and Poland of transit fees.
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