The sanctions in the compromise version of the National Defense Authorization Act, agreed by lawmakers in the House of Representatives and Senate, will penalize companies that facilitate pipeline construction, including ships that contribute to pipeline installation or move rocks from the seabed.
The sanctions also target companies that provide insurance or secondary insurance for the construction and certification of pipelines in Denmark.
The bill will become law only after it is passed by both houses of Congress and signed by President Donald Trump.
The $ 11 billion Nord Stream 2 project, led by Russian group Gazprom, will double the capacity of the existing pipeline to transport natural gas under the Baltic Sea to Europe via Germany. The pipeline would bypass Ukraine, which depends on profitable transit fees.
Gazprom and Germany say Nord Stream 2 is a purely commercial project. Demand for gas in Germany is growing as it reduces its dependence on nuclear energy and coal.
The Trump administration and lawmakers on both sides believe the pipeline would strengthen President Vladimir Putin’s economic and political influence over Europe. The Trump administration is also promoting increased US liquefied natural gas exports to Europe.
Proponents of the sanctions hope the measures will prevent Gazprom from using the Akademik Cherskiy, a Russian pipe-laying vessel, to complete a final 99-mile (160 km) section of the project in Danish waters.
Nord Stream 2 spokesman Jens Mueller said the company had not yet assessed the details of the bill, but that the legislation would directly or indirectly affect about 120 companies in more than 12 European countries.
“It is up to governments and the European Commission to protect European companies from illegal extraterritorial sanctions,” Mueller said.
The bill also includes a provision by Representative Eliot Engel, a Democrat and House Foreign Affairs Leader, calling for notification of allies before sanctions can be imposed. Engel opposed the project, but said sanctions could let Russia “escape” while hitting European companies helping the project.
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