Bilfinger Exits Nord Stream 2 over Sanctions Risk: Press
Germany's Bilfinger has ended its participation in the Nord Stream 2 project, German newspaper Bild reported on January 19, because of looming US sanctions.
Citing letters, Bild said Bilfinger had informed both the US and the Nord Stream 2 operating company of its decision. It had been hired to develop, deliver and operate process control and safety systems and provide a gas-fired heating generation unit, the newspaper said. Bilfinger told NGW it did not comment on the pipeline.
The US is preparing to expand its sanctions regime against the near-complete pipeline, after both houses of its congress overrode a Trump veto of a defence bill containing the measures. While existing sanctions only penalise companies providing pipelaying vessels for Nord Stream 2, the new ones will also punish those providing technical certification and insurance, and other construction activities such as surveying, trenching and rock replacement.
Swiss-based Zurich Insurance Group, one of around 20 insurers supporting Nord Stream 2, has also withdrawn over the sanctions threat, Reuters reported on January 16. Norway-based quality assurance firm DNV GL meanwhile said last November it would no longer provide pipeline integrity verification services.
Nord Stream 2's offshore section is about 95% complete. Work was halted in December 2019 after Washington imposed its first sanctions on the pipeline, forcing Swiss contractor Allseas to stop laying pipes. Russia's own pipelaying vessels are now working to finish the job. The US treasury on January 19 revealed it would impose sanctions on one of these vessels Fortuna.
(banner image courtesy of Gazprom)