Nord Stream 2 Work Resumes Despite U.S. Efforts To Stop It

By Vanessa Dezem, Brian Parkin and Olga Tanas

he construction of Russia’s controversial Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, which has been halted for a year, is set to resume in German waters Friday.

The move to complete the final section of the project will stretch already fraught diplomatic relations with the U.S. as lawmakers in Washington aim to tighten sanctions.

The vessel Fortuna is starting to lay two parallel underwater pipeline sections from Nord Stream 2, the German Waterways and Shipping Authority Stralsund said. Fortuna will lay a 2.6-kilometer (1.6-mile) section of the pipeline in German waters at depths of less than 30 meters, according to the company building the project.

The 1,230-kilometer pipeline was weeks away from completion when work was halted a year ago after U.S. President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on companies working on the link, and lawmakers in Washington are poised to approve new penalties this month. All except 160 kilometers of the pipe have been put in place, and the bulk of the remaining section will be in the Danish waters.

The U.S. maintains the 9.5 billion-euro ($11.2 billion) pipeline gives Russia too much leverage over Europe and potentially deprives U.S. liquefied natural gas suppliers of markets. Russia’s gas export company, Gazprom PJSC, who owns the project, has quietly been working on ways to restart work despite sanctions.