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(Bilfinger SE/Nord Stream 2) German company Bilfinger SE withdraws from Nord Stream 2 project, reports say (TASS)

German company Bilfinger SE decided to not to participate in the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project due to the threat of US sanctions, the Bild tabloid reported on Tuesday with reference to the company’s letter.

Earlier, according to the newspaper, Bilfinger SE signed several contracts worth 15 mln euro with Nord Stream 2AG, the project’s operator, in particular “for the development, supply and maintenance of security systems”, as well as for the supply of a heat generating unit.

Bild reported that Bilfinger SE had already notified the American side that they were not going to fulfill those contracts.

In Germany they consider US extraterritorial sanctions illegal. Earlier, the government of the German federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern established a special environmental foundation. One of its tasks is to support the Nord Stream 2 contractors and protect them against the US sanctions. Germany’s Green party criticized the establishment of the fund.

On Tuesday, US Treasury Department announced introduction of sanctions against the Fortuna vessel, which is involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, and its owner, the KBT-Rus company.

The sanctions were imposed in the framework of the CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act). Inclusion in the sanctions list means asset freezing in the United States and the ban for US citizens or firms on engaging in business with persons in the list.

The Nord Stream 2 project contemplates the construction of two pipeline strings with a total capacity of 55 bln cubic meters per year from the coast of Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany. To date, more than 2,300 km of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline has been laid (out of approximately 2,460 km), or 94% of the total length of the gas pipeline. The construction of the pipeline was suspended in December 2019 after Switzerland’s Allseas stopped pipe-laying due to possible US sanctions. In December 2020, project operator Nord Stream 2 AG resumed pipe laying, building a 2.6 km pipeline in the German exclusive economic zone using the Russian pipe-laying barge Fortuna. Gazprom counts on commissioning of Nord Stream 2 within a reasonable time frame. The holding notes that Nord Stream 2 remains one of its priority investment projects in 2021.