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New US sanctions will not have serious impact on TurkStream, expert says

July 17/ 08:11

Moscow. The US sanctions Secretary of State Michael Pompeo warned about on Wednesday, are unlikely to seriously affect the TurkStream pipeline, Dmitry Marinchenko, head of the group for natural resources and commodities at Fitch, told TASS.

At the same time, these sanctions may create additional solvable difficulties for the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project, he noted.

On Wednesday, July 15, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo told reporters that the US State Department will include the Nord Stream 2 and the second line of the TurkStream project into projects falling under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

The second line has been built, but the receiving infrastructure is not ready. Its construction is now being carried out by potential buyers in Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary.

"Formally, the receiving infrastructure is not part of the project, so it is more likely that it will not fall under new sanctions. Besides that, Russia has constructive political relations with each of these countries. This also increases the chances that the second branch will be completed and launched despite the sanctions," Marinchenko added.

As for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Russia has the technical ability to complete the project, but the sanctions may create additional difficulties, the expert said. He added that these difficulties will likely be solved.

"It is important that Germany continues to publicly support the project. There is still a chance of completion by the end of this year," he added.

The Nord Stream 2 project contemplates construction of two gas pipeline strings with the total capacity of 55 bln cubic meters per year from Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea. The gas pipeline is 93% complete to date. The construction was suspended at the end of 2019 when Swiss pipe-laying company Allseas stopped work due to US sanctions.

On June 4, US Senators introduced a bill expanding sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project to the Senate. According to the press service of one of the senators, the document "clarifies that US sanctions related to Nord Stream 2 apply to vessels engaged in all pipe laying activities, as well as to those who facilitate providing those vessels, as well as to those who provide insurance, port facilities, or tethering services for those vessels, and ultimately to any company that provides certification for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to begin operations."

The TurkStream project is a pipeline consisting of two lines each capable of transmitting 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas annually. The first line is intended for the Turkish market, while the second branch is going to supply the countries of Southern and Southeastern Europe. Gazprom considers Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary as potential markets.

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