US Oil Supplies to Europe Not a Big Obstacle for Nord Stream 2 - Researcher

© Sputnik / Alexei Druzhinin / Go to the photo bankRussian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin - Sputnik International
The EU has reportedly vowed to respond in kind if the US slaps sanctions on European companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 project. Sputnik has discussed this with Francis Perrin, a Senior Research Fellow at IRIS, The French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs.

Sputnik: In your view how justified are the claims made by the Hungarian minister about the European Union applying double standards over this Nord Stream 2 project?

Francis Perrin: The European Commission said at the time that some provisions of the contract signed between Gazprom on the one hand and the relevant European Union countries and companies were not in accordance with EU legislation and regulation, and competition. At this time the European Commission threatened to block the construction of the South Stream gas line project if these contracts were not amended by the relevant parties. Russia decided then to cancel the project and launch the Turkish Stream project and so the key issue is the willingness of the European Commission to submit such projects to European competition, legislation and regulation which of course poses a big question when we're speaking about international projects and not only projects that are in the European Union.

READ MORE: German Economics Ministry: US Pledges No Sanctions on Russian Pipelines

Sputnik: Denmark has recently withheld from granting permission for the implementation of the project to go through Danish territorial waters, however, several European politicians have stated that the European Union has no legal leverage to hold the project, what’s your take on this?

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Francis Perrin: As far as Nord Stream 2 is concerned this project needs, of course, construction and operation, and so far the mandate has been issued by Germany, by Finland and Sweden and in Russia one permit out of the two required has been awarded for this project. Now this permit procedure is underway in Denmark. This gives to this country an important role as far as the future of this huge project is concerned. Denmark has passed legislation that could block this project due to security concerns. For the Danish authorities it’s a very odd political potato and they are under strong pressure by the US. They recently received the number two at the State Department Mr. John Sullivan, who restated the strong US opposition to this project. This is the reason why Denmark would like the future of Nord Stream 2 to be discussed at the European level and not only at the national level.

READ MORE: Three Reasons Why Denmark CAN'T Stop Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

Sputnik: Earlier German officials stated that if Germany were to suspend the Nord Stream 2 it would still be of little help to the US, do you agree with that?

Francis Perrin: I do not agree totally with this opinion. For Russia and for Gazprom, Nord Stream 2 is a key project. It’s not the only project for Europe there's the TurkStream — Russia, Black Sea, Turkey, Greek-Turkish border and the European Union of course, but Nord Stream 2 is clearly the priority for Gazprom and for Russia. So if this project was blocked, which is not the case as we are speaking now, it would be a hard blow for Russia and it would be good news for some administration officials in Washington, but we’re not in this situation as of now.

Sputnik: Now according to recent reports a Polish oil and gas company has struck a gas supply deal with an American gas company, how can this complicate the development of the Nord Stream 2 project?

Gazprom Chairman of the Board Alexei Miller visits the ETERNO shop of the Chelyabinsk Pipe-Rolling Plant - Sputnik International
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Francis Perrin: The US is increasing its LNG — liquefied natural gas — exports to various regions in the world including Europe, including Poland, but I do not think that a particular gas supply deal will constitute a great obstacle to Nord Stream 2. What is clear is the US will become in the next decade, probably, the most important energy exporter in the world, before Australia and Qatar. And this is a huge development in energy terms, in industrial terms, in geopolitical terms, but it does not mean that Nord Stream 2 will be out for this single, if very important reason.

The views and opinions expressed by Francis Perrin are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.

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