Moscow may use gas pipe to spy on West, US warns

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According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the US president threatened Angela Merkel a month ago with the possibility of starting a new trade war in the event that Berlin would not consider abandoning the project.

The Thirsk and Malton MP said: "Despite the fact oil and gas exports make up 70% of Russia's worldwide trade, these are not now covered under the European Union sanction regime due to the high reliance of the European Union on Russian gas exports".

The Nord Stream 2 project is also raising security concerns and could lead to USA sanctions, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Diplomacy Sandra Oudkirk said Thursday in Berlin.

"That means that any pipeline project, and there are multiple pipeline projects in the world that are potentially covered, is at an elevated sanctions risk", Bloomberg cited Oudkirk as saying. The length of the pipeline will be 1.2 thousand km, and the total capacity of the existing Nord stream - 55 billion cubic meters of gas.

Russia's Gazprom, Royal Dutch Shell, and other Western firms involved in building the pipeline started preparatory work off Germany's Baltic coast this week, and German factories are already churning out thousands of steel pipes to use in the undersea network.

Oudkirk said Russian Federation could use the project to place monitoring and listening devices for surveillance under the Baltic Sea, which increases the risk of the pipeline from an intelligence and security point of view.

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The United States also opposes the Turkish Stream offshore pipeline that would bring Russian gas via the Black Sea to Turkey for the same reasons, she said.

"The new project would permit new technologies to be placed along the pipeline route, and that is a threat", she said.

Poland, Denmark and Ukraine also oppose the project, arguing that it will increase the EU's dependency on Russian gas and Europe should instead focus on diversifying its energy resources.

"This pipeline can't be used to blackmail or negatively affect any country", he said. "But shale gas is much more expensive than Russian gas, so lock the Nord stream-2 itself does not guarantee exports", said Altmaier.

German officials have acknowledged a need to consider the interests of Ukraine.