US, Germany to announce Nord Stream 2 deal within days: press
The US and Germany are due to announce a deal in the coming days that ends a dispute over Russia's $11bn Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, sources told Reuters on July 19.
Germany has shown unwavering support for Nord Stream 2 over the years, even during spikes in political tensions between Berlin and Moscow over the poisoning of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny in August last year and a Russian military buildup at the Ukrainian border earlier this year. The US, meanwhile, argues that the pipeline jeopardises European energy security, although Russia claims it is only protecting the interests of its competing LNG exporters.
The report that a deal is within sight follows talks between US president Joe Biden and German chancellor Angela Merkel last week, after which both leaders stressed the need to prevent Russia from using Nord Stream 2 as a weapon and ensure Ukraine remains a transit route for Russian gas.
Nord Stream 2 should reach completion in August, and the pipeline operator's CEO Matthias Warnig recently told the German press earlier this month that work testing and certifying the pipeline's first of two strings was underway. There was anticipation that certification would be a difficulty, as Norway's DNV said last year that it could not provide such services because of US sanctions.