Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Nord Stream 2: US-sanctions take effect, major companies back out

 The sanctions that have been announced by the US government since more than one year are becoming effective today. In response to this, several major corporations withdraw from the collaboration with companies associated with the contentious pipeline Nord Stream 2. Among them: german construction company Bilfinger SE, insurance group Zurich and norvegian classification company DNV-GL.

Source BILD:

Shock for the supporters of the Putin pipeline Nord Stream 2!

According to BILD information, the first German company recently withdrew from the construction of the controversial pipeline. This emerges from letters from the company that BILD was able to see. The reason is the fear of US sanctions, which could have hit the company in just a few weeks.

The company is none other than the listed Mannheim industrial service provider "Bilfinger SE" - SDAX-affiliated with annual sales of a whopping 4.3 billion euros in 2019.

Bilfinger had signed several contracts with “Nord Stream 2 AG”. Among other things “for the development, delivery and commissioning of the process control and safety systems for the operation of the pipeline”. Order volume: 15 million euros.

In addition, Bilfinger signed a contract with the Russians for “the engineering, delivery, installation and commissioning of a 90 MW + 30 MW reserve natural gas-fired heat generation plant” at the German landing point of the pipeline in Lubmin.

In two letters - an announcement from December and a confirmation last week - Bilfinger had informed the USA that it would comply with the provisions of the "Protection of the European Energy Security Act" (PEESCA) and that all partnerships and contracts with Nord Stream 2 quit.

The Swiss pipeline company "Nord Stream 2 AG", whose parent company is the Russian state energy giant Gazprom, was informed about this shortly before Christmas, according to Bilfinger in its January letter.

However, the Russians did not respond to the news, which is why Mannheim now fears that Nord Stream 2 will be sued. Hence the secrecy regarding the withdrawal from the Putin tube through the Baltic Sea.

BILD asked Bilfinger about the processes. The reaction of the company: "Please understand that we are currently not commenting on your request."

As BILD learned, Bilfinger's withdrawal apparently happened at the last second.

Sanctions against the Russian company KVT-RUS are already in force today, whose laying ship “Fortuna” had laid almost three kilometers of Nord Stream 2 tubes off the coast of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in the past few weeks.

▶ ︎ The sanctions against the Russian "Fortuna" are so severe that any support provided by foreign companies to the ship - even in the past! - can lead to sanctions against these companies. The ship is now listed as “blocked property” and is therefore toxic for all other service providers. The US government informed the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin yesterday, Monday.

And further sanctions against German companies could soon follow.

The focus of the Americans: The Hamburg high-sea service company "Krebs", which provides the Nord Stream 2 ships with rust protection on the high seas. BILD learned: If “Krebs” does not withdraw from the project within weeks, it would fall under US sanctions.

"See the sanctioning of Fortuna as a last warning for German companies to withdraw immediately," said a source familiar with the case to BILD. It is "now time to leave the Russian project".

The withdrawal of the German “Bilfinger SE” is just the latest slap in the face of “Nord Stream 2 AG”. In the past few days, three European companies had distanced themselves from Nord Stream 2 - each due to US sanctions threats. The Swiss insurance company “Zurich”, the Norwegian classification society “DNV-GL” and the Danish environmental consultancy “Ramboll”.

▶ ︎ It remains unclear whether Nord Stream 2 can build the last five percent of the pipeline under these conditions. An insider on BILD: "That only works if Germany and the EU accept shady alternative companies from China and Russia."

But it is already clear that the sham environmental foundation of the state government of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania will not be an emergency anchor for Nord Stream 2. The insider on BILD: "The foundation is purely symbolic and does not offer a way out of the sanctions."

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