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US official: Nord Stream 2 inconsistent with shared transatlantic values

  • 2018-12-13
  • LETA/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Nord Stream 2 is not consistent with shared transatlantic values, Francis Fannon, assistant secretary for the Bureau of Energy Resources of the United States Department of State, said on Tuesday.

"The US and Europe share Western values. We look at commerce as mutually beneficial and reciprocal. But doing business with Nord Stream 2 is just not consistent with those shared transatlantic values," Fannon told reporters in a telephonic press briefing.

Fannon stressed that the energy security of its European partners and allies is a longstanding strategic priority of the United States. American-driven competition increases choices and reduces prices for European consumers regardless of the producer, he added.

"In contrast, Nord Stream 2 and expanded Turkish Stream Pipeline seek to deepen dependency on Russian gas rather than strengthen security. They're not commercial projects. They are political tools."

Fannon said that unlike the United States, Russia's energy companies are an extension of the state and the Russian state uses energy for coercive geopolitical aims.

"Through Nord Stream 2 Russia seeks to increase its leverage over the West while severing Ukraine from Europe," he said.  

Russia does not want its customers to have options or a real transparent market, he said.

Fannon added that the United States strongly condemns recent Russian aggression in the Sea of Azov and considers the Russian Federation's closure of the Kerch Strait a clear violation of international law.  

Fannon said Russia's actions call to question the entire notion of the relative reliability of Russia as a responsible actor and as a part of this international community. 

"I think we have to consider these hostilities as we consider, as countries consider entering into relative partnership with such an actor," he added. 

Fannon pointed out that Russia's actions have strengthened the international consensus that Nord Stream 2 is a direct affront to the transatlantic energy security relationship and shared national security goals.

"More European countries than ever are recognizing the importance of diversification as fundamental to energy security," he said.

The United States calls for all parties to stop Nord Stream 2 and increase energy security, Fannon said.

"Germany can certainly remove their political support from the project. Support the update of the gas directive. That policy has been languishing for over a year and a half. That would be a positive step in advancing energy security. And then have a review on national and energy security grounds under EU law," he added. 

Fannon also called for European states to consider that new energy deposits are constantly being discovered in the world, and states could use this abundance of energy to diversify their energy sources.

"These projects like Nord Stream 2 are long-term in nature , and what they effectively do is lock in kind of an old way of doing business, and they're ignoring this near-term energy abundance that we're seeing," Fannon said, pointing out the gas supplies found in the Eastern Mediterranean and Mozambique and the fact that Qatar and Australia are both increasing their gas capacities.

"So what we see here is a new form of energy abundance that can be a real win-win for all of us, which is all the more reason why it's incumbent for European partners to consider the long-term relationship and energy dependency on Russia." 

"By locking that in, they are losing the opportunity that stands before us to have free, transparent, very real markets, to improve energy diversification and energy security," Fannon said.