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Joe Biden’s victory and Nord Stream-2: will the American energy strategy be changed?

Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential elections may have great influence on the current position of the US government towards the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline. The first reason for such forecast is that Democrat Biden has no sufficient connections with oil and gas producers, the second one is the intention of the new president not to jeopardize the relations with Germany and settle this problem in delicate manner. But such soft position may cause negative reaction of Republicans. Will the Nord Stream-2 be launched?

According to the former member of the Virginia state senate Richard Black, Biden can solve the problem of the Nord Stream-2 and reject an instrument of sanction in return for some privileges for the US.

At the same time, there is a clear indication that the sanctions will be used as effective tool to defend US national interest in the Nord Stream-2 case.

Since Dec.2019 the sanctions have been imposed against the companies, which provide subsea pipelay. The next step is sanctions against companies which insure subsea pipelaying business and which upgrade such type of ships.

There is draft law proposed by the group of the US senators which forbid providing any test and certification services needed to launch the Nord Stream-2. Therefore its start becomes almost unreal. Biden is dynamic politician, he has flexible tactics and the prime reason to keep good relations with Europeans is need to supply them LNG and therefore develop the energy market of the US. So there is need to find right balance between restraining Russian gas pipeline construction and good relations with European partners, who want to diversify the sources of gas.

Biden cannot impose or cancel proposed sanctions against the Nord Stream-2. The maximum the US president can do is to try to make these sanctions less harsh, at least not to insult German party.

The matter of insult is already mentioned service and operation of new gas pipeline.
It has direct influence on German interests, because due to German law there are no legal reasons not to issue the documents needed for launch and operation of the Nord Stream-2.

At the same time the issue of these documents means automatic US sanctions. Berlin is about to make choice – to follow the domestic law or to observe the US law. That is why Europeans are greatly interested in reaching compromise with the US government to increase LNG import and to launch of the Nord Stream-2 at the same time.

Russia has no time to waste and is forced to continue construction of the Nord Stream-2 with no regards to inconvenient weather. Pipe-laying ship Akademik Cherskiy is staying in Mukran and this ship is about to finish the last part of subsea pipeline in the water area of Denmark. The rush demonstrated by Russians can be explained by uncertainty of future US politics in regard to Russian energy projects in Europe.

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