US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 challenge attractiveness of investing in EU, says OMV

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US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 challenge the attractiveness of investing in Europe, Chairman of Executive Board of Austria’s OMV, one of Gazprom’s financial partners on the project, Rainer Seele said during a conference call on Wednesday.

“In any case, as a European company, we expect politicians to ensure Europe’s attractiveness for investors, because I see big risks: if we plan to invest billions in the project that observes all rules and regulatory details of Europe, we should ask ourselves whether we want third countries to influence us? We have to convince [investors] to invest in Europe. Generally, it would be great to clear up that issue, though it would be better if politicians answered those questions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Seele noted that sanctions are a political issue, which requires a political response that should be given by politicians, not companies. “OMV has always observed sanctions, always taken them into consideration,” he said.

The House of Representatives of the US Congress adopted earlier the National Defense Authorization Act for the next fiscal year (starts on October 1), which obliges the administration to toughen sanctions against Russia’s Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream pipeline projects. It implies imposing restrictions against foreign persons, who greatly contribute to sale, lease or provision of vessels for laying pipes intended for construction of Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream pipelines.

The Nord Stream 2 project envisages 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 the Swiss pipe-laying company Allseas stopped work due to US sanctions.

Gazprom’s European partners – the British-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, Austrian OMV, French Engie, and German Uniper and Wintershall – totally fund 50% of the project, that is, up to 950 mln euro each. To date, the OMV has allocated around 712 mln euro to fund the project, press service of the Austrian company said earlier.