The US will impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 contractors unless they 'immediately' demonstrate good faith efforts to wind down operations, the US State Department said. It added that the contractors may avoid sanctions if they stop the operations by 20 January.
"The United States will impose sanctions unless related parties immediately demonstrate good faith efforts to wind-down. Related parties need to finish wind-down within 30 days," the State Department said in a statement. "Any company involved in Nord Stream 2 needs to look carefully at what that means for their operations."
The State Department said it has issued a "Fact Sheet on US Opposition to Nord Stream 2" and noted that it has up to 60 days to issue a report to Congress identifying "violating entities."
The State Department also said it has promised to act "expeditiously" on the matter.
Earlier in the day, Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that Nord Stream 2 will be launched before the end of 2020 despite US sanctions against the project.
Last week, US President Donald Trump signed a 2020 defence bill which, among other things, included sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Swiss company Allseas that had been laying pipes for the project has suspended its work already.
The State Department noted that the United States’ intention is to stop the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
"Congress acted and the President signed the bill," the statement said. "Anyone engaged in the energy trading business ought to do it under fair terms, which are transparent, and operate according to market principles."
The Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture between Gazprom and five European companies: France's ENGIE, Austria's OMV, the UK-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, and Germany's Uniper and Wintershall. The 745-mile twin gas pipeline will carry up to 55 billion cubic meters of fossil fuels per year from Russia to Germany, passing through territorial waters or exclusive economic zones of Denmark, Finland, Germany, Russia and Sweden.