Germany tried to dissuade the United States from following through on its threat to impose additional sanctions on the Russia-led gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2 by telling the U.S. that it would support the construction of two liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals with US$1.2 billion (1 billion euro), German weekly Die Zeit reported on Wednesday.
According to Die Zeit’s investigation, German Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister, Olaf Scholz, wrote a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in early August, promising a massive increase of public support for the construction of the LNG terminals, including by making 1 billion available, if the United States allowed Nord Stream 2 to be completed unhindered.
Germany, the endpoint of Nord Stream 2, has been looking at the economic benefits of the project, while the U.S., including President Donald Trump, have been threatening sanctions on the project and even on Germany over its support for the project.
The U.S., several European countries, including the Baltic states and Poland, as well as the European Union (EU), have expressed concern about Russia using gas sales and its gas monopoly Gazprom as a political tool.
The United States views Nord Stream 2 as further undermining Europe’s energy security by giving Gazprom another pipeline to ship its natural gas to European markets.
In July, the United States warned companies that were helping Russia with Nord Stream 2 that they should ‘get out now’ or face the consequences, as the Trump Administration steps up efforts to stop the construction of the controversial Russia-led pipeline in Europe.
In recent weeks, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has come under pressure from some of her coalition partners to drop the German support for Nord Stream 2 after the poisoning of Russian opposition leader and Putin critic, Alexei Navalny, who is now being treated in a German hospital.
According to experts who spoke to CNBC earlier this week, Germany is unlikely to pull the plug on the Nord Stream 2 project, at least not yet.