A bill passed under President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on companies involved in the near-completed pipeline to bring Russian gas to Europe via Germany, undermining previous gas transits through Ukraine.
Led by Russian Gazprom with Western partners, the pipeline, which doubles the capacity of the existing Nord Stream 1 (NS 1) link, has met with opposition from the European Union.
US claims NS 2 increases EU dependence on Russia, while NS 2 supporters claim US seeks to increase sales of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe.
Here are some important moments in the development of Nord Stream 2:
November: Gazprom and its Western partners plan to expand the pipeline network by an additional 55 billion cubic meters at an estimated cost of 9.5 euros ($ 11.3 billion).
June: Gazprom, Royal Dutch Shell, E.ON, OMV, Wintershall and ENGIE agree to build the pipeline.
March: Eight EU governments object, citing geopolitical reasons.
April: signing of financing agreements.
January: Germany grants construction and operating permits.
January: US Ambassador to Germany says companies could face sanctions.
December: the Swiss-Dutch company Allseas suspends the laying of pipes.
Trump signs defense policy bill that includes sanctions.
January: Russia aims for a start in the first quarter of 2021.
May: the German energy regulator refuses to grant an exemption from the EU gas directives to operators.
May: An EU court dismisses a challenge to EU gas rules by the operators of NS 1 and NS 2.
September 3: Pressure mounts on Berlin to reconsider its support after the alleged nerve agent attack on Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
September 15: Data shows that a Russian ship has sailed for the supply base in Germany.
September 23: The world’s largest group of marine insurers has said it will not insure ships involved in NS 2.
October 1: Denmark authorizes NS 2 to operate in Danish waters.
October 7: Poland fines Gazprom over PLN 29 billion after initiating proceedings in June.
November 4: Gazprom appeals to a Polish court against the fine.
November 28: NS 2 announces its intention to resume finishing a 2.6 km section in German waters.
December 3: The United States unveils a bill targeting businesses and individuals helping NS 2.
December 11: NS 2 says the Fortuna ship has resumed work.
December 22: The Danish Maritime Authority issues a notification of pipeline laying work from January 15.
December 24: Kremlin says new US sanctions could complicate completion.
December 28: NS 2 claims to have completed the 2.6 km section in German waters.
January 6: The state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in northern Germany decides to create a foundation to help complete NS 2.
January 13: The US State Department warns European companies against sanctions.
January 14/15: NS 2 announces that pipeline laying will resume in Germany on January 15.
Uniper and Wintershall Dea claim to have received no threats.
January 20: Trump, on his last full day in office, imposes sanctions on Fortuna.
Gazprom successfully places an 8-year Eurobond worth $ 2 billion, suggesting that investors see limited risk.
German environmental groups are filing complaints with the marine regulator BSH, effectively preventing work from continuing in Germany for the time being.
January 21: The European Parliament passes a resolution calling for a halt to the completion of NS 2 in response to Navalny’s arrest in Russia.
January 24: Fortuna resumes work in Danish waters.
February 5: Germany maintains its support for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline “for the moment,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said after condemning Russia’s expulsion of diplomats from Sweden, Germany and Poland.
April 22: The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee introduced a bill to put pressure on companies helping to build Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
April 27: Russian ship Akademik Cherskiy began laying pipelines for the project in Danish waters.
May 19: The US State Department concluded that Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO, Matthias Warnig, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, were engaging in sanctionable activities. But Secretary of State Antony Blinken immediately waived the sanctions, saying it was in the national interest of the United States.
The State Department also imposed sanctions on four Russian ships, including the Akademik Cherskiy, and imposed the measures on five other Russian entities, including the Russian Maritime Rescue Service.