A State Department report sent to Parliament concluded that Nord Stream 2AG and its CEO, Matthias Warnig, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, are engaged in sanctions.
However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken quickly abandoned those sanctions, saying it was in the US national interest.
This decision was made when the Biden administration was trying to rebuild relations with Germany after relations deteriorated under former President Donald Trump.
The exemption does not have a specific end date, but can be revoked by the Secretary of State.
The State Department has imposed sanctions on four Russian vessels, including Akademik Cherskiy, who began laying pipes for the project in the Danish waters in April. It also imposed action on five other Russian entities, including the Russian Navy rescue team.
“Today’s actions are in line with the president’s pledge to rebuild relations with European allies and partners,” Blinken said in a statement made during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Iceland. It shows the government’s commitment to European energy security. ” Arctic Council meeting.
Democratic President Joe Biden opposed a $ 11 billion project to bring Russian gas from the Arctic to Germany, saying it was a bad deal for Europe.
The United States is an exporter of natural gas to Europe in the form of LNG, but Russian gas is cheaper.
Washington fears that Russia could use Nord Stream 2 as a means to undermine European Union nations by increasing its reliance on Moscow.
Democratic Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez has criticized the decision as it would undermine US efforts to “counter Russia’s invasion in Europe.”
“I urge the administration to strip band-aids, lift these exemptions, and proceed with the sanctions mandated by Congress,” he said.
“If the Putin administration was allowed to end the pipeline, it would be because the Biden administration chose to do so,” said Michael McCaul, a Republican executive in diplomacy.
However, German authorities welcomed the exemption as a “constructive step.”
“It’s a sign of the fact that Germany is an important partner for the United States and a reliable partner in the future,” German Foreign Minister Mars said.
However, Yuri Bitrenko, CEO of Ukraine’s state-owned energy company, said Nord Stream is Russia’s most “dangerous geopolitical project.”
Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom and its western partners are competing to complete a pipeline to deliver natural gas under the Baltic Sea. The project is now about 95% complete and could bypass Ukraine, steal favorable shipping charges and undermine the fight against Russia’s aggression.
US officials told Reuters that the project would be difficult to cancel, but Washington would continue its efforts. “We have inherited a pipeline that is more than 90 percent complete, so stopping it has always been a long way,” a State Department official said.
At construction speeds, Nord Stream 2 could be completed by the end of the year.