Trump mulls sanctions over Nord Stream 2 line

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is installed in Swedish waters

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is installed in Swedish waters

"We're looking at it", Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday, referring to potential sanctions if the Nord Stream 2 pipeline goes ahead. "I think it's something that I've been looking at and I've been thinking about and I'm the one that brought up the pipeline problem".

Threats of sanctions have come from Washington earlier as well, targeting European companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 project, including supermajor Shell, Austria's OMV, and German Wintershall and Uniper, along with French Engie.

Trump said Nord Stream 2 "really makes Germany a hostage of Russian Federation if things ever happen that were bad". Trump and the Department of Energy said sales outlined in the contract are worth about $8 billion.

Trump's opposition of Nord Stream 2, however, isn't based purely on geopolitical grounds.

The U.S. argument is that an expansion of the existing Nord Stream pipeline would deepen Germany's-and Europe's-dependence on Russian gas at a time when they should be reducing this dependence and diversifying into other sources, including U.S. LNG.

The US has been gradually boosting LNG shipments to Europe, which have been up 272 percent since last July.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Barrasso had introduced a version of the bill previous year.

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The Trump administration is also considering shifting as many as 2,000 U.S. troops from Germany to Poland, as Berlin only spent 1.2% of its GDP on defense in 2018, below its 2% commitment as a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member, according to Bloomberg.

Many European countries, including Poland, want to receive liquefied natural gas from the United States, said the President of the United States.

At 1,222 kilometers in length, the original Nord Stream is the longest sub-sea pipeline in the world and can transport 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually.

President of the European Council Donald Tusk has said Nord Stream 2 is not in the EU's interests. It is planned that the pipeline will start gas deliveries under the Baltic sea from 1 January 2020. Nord Stream 2 will double this capacity to 110 billion cubic meters (3.9 trillion cubic feet) with the addition of two additional lines.

This advantage will allow Russian Federation to weaponize energy supplies against its neighboring countries without disrupting natural gas deliveries to Western Europe.

USA opposition to the gas pipeline is bipartisan, out of concern about Russian Federation using its supplies of natural gas to exert pressure on Western European nations dependent on the fuel.

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