13:27 GMT27 February 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Washington's desire to levy further sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline constitutes a form of economic imperialism designed to support the US fracking industry, Heiko Hessenkemper, a member of the Bundestag Committee on Economic Affairs and Energy from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, said.

    "So the political pressure is understandable, because America, the American economy, and the American financial industry, are up to their necks in the fracking industry ... They use illegal transnational sanctions to protect their interests. In summary, this is nothing more than economic imperialism," Hessenkemper stated.

    The Nord Stream 2 pipeline will be vital to ensure Europe’s energy security, the lawmaker said, citing the Dutch government's decision to wind down the country's production of natural gas and Germany's plans to close down many coal and nuclear power plants.

    Consequently, Washington’s decision to levy sanctions on the pipeline is both illegal and threatens the energy security of the entire European continent, Hessenkemper added.

    "The American argument that Europe is too dependent on Russia and is open to blackmail is, of course, nonsensical because there are enough liquefied gas terminals in Europe that could be refilled from global sources in the event of a supply shortfall. From all these points of view, America's sanctions are not only illegal, but they are also not in Europe's interest," the lawmaker stated.

    According to Hessenkemper, the US fracking industry, which is capital-intensive and has high production costs, has been severely impacted by the global fall in oil and gas demand during the ongoing coronavirus disease outbreak. These factors have forced Washington to look abroad and impose sanctions on the fracking industry’s competitors, the lawmaker stated.

    US senators on Thursday introduced a bill that would extend the scope of sanctions levied against Nord Stream 2 to include all companies that provide certification, insurance, and port facilities for pipe-laying vessels that are working on the project.

    Swiss pipelaying firm Allseas quit the project in December as a result of US sanctions.

    The German government has opposed all extraterritorial sanctions imposed by Washington on the pipeline.

    sanctions, fracking, Germany, Russia, Nord Stream 2
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