MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On June 15, the US Senate approved new sanctions against Russia in connection to its alleged meddling in the US presidential election in 2016. In particular, it is supposed to limit the financing period for sanctioned Russian banks to 14 days, and for sanctioned oil and gas sector companies to 30 days. The bill also presupposes the possibility of sanctions against persons who intend to invest more than $5 million per year or $1 million at a time in the construction of Russian export pipelines or provide projects with services, technology and information support.
"From the European point of view, extra volumes of Russian natural gas are necessary, as our volumes of production have started to significantly decrease," Austrian energy company OMV CEO Rainer Seele told Handelsblatt newspaper in an comment published on Wednesday.
Mattias Warnig, the managing director of the Nord Stream AG, a Gazprom subsidiary responsible for construction and operation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, said that the new sanctions will have a blatant effect on oil and gas supplies in general, "from China to Western Europe."
In April, Nord Stream 2 AG signed a deal with French Engie, UK’s Royal Dutch Shell, Austria’s OMV and Germany's Uniper and Wintershall, which agreed to provide part of long-term financing of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, estimated at 9.5 billion euros ($10.6 billion).
The bill, which is yet to be approved by both the House of Representatives and the administration of US President Donald Trump, has already prompted criticism within the European Union. Thus, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern have condemned the draft of new US sanctions, which, they said on June 15, were about "selling American liquefied natural gas and ending the supply of Russian natural gas to the European market."
The Nord Stream 2 project presumes the construction of two gas pipelines with a combined annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas. The new pipeline is planned to be laid along the existing Nord Stream pipeline route from the Russian coast through the Baltic Sea, on to a hub in Germany.