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US targets insurers in Russian pipeline sanctions

The US is targeting insurers as it prepares additional sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project, according to a Bloomberg report.

The $11.2 billion Russia-to-Germany pipeline has been stalled for nearly a year. House and Senate negotiators have now agreed to target insurers and technical certification companies working on the pipeline in a defense bill that must pass by the end of the year, Bloomberg reported. The sanctions would add to penalties that have already brought a halt to work on the pipeline, which was only weeks from completion when work was halted.

The US has imposed sanctions on the project, run by Russia’s state-backed exporter Gazprom PJSC, to try to loosen Russia’s grip on energy supplies in the region. Adding insurers and certification companies to the sanctions will make it harder for Gazprom to complete Nord Stream 2, Bloomberg reported.

Only 160 kilometers of the pipeline remained to be laid when the US imposed sanctions late last year. The new sanctions would prevent pipeline-laying ships from getting insurance and technical certifications needed to work in Danish waters, where the last sections of the pipeline need to be laid.

In July, the US warned energy companies taking part in Russian pipeline projects that sanctions were imminent, Bloomberg reported.

“Get out now or risk the consequences,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

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