Russian gas supplies cannot be replaced amid conflict: Reports
The US State Department admits that Russia's gas supply is irreplaceable, amid US-Russian tension over Ukraine.
During consultations, international energy companies informed the Biden administration that there are few alternative supplies of gas available to replace Russian volumes if they are disrupted due to Ukraine, according to Reuters, citing State Department and industry sources.
According to the report, State Department officials met with international energy companies on Friday to discuss contingency plans for European natural gas supply if the situation with Russia over Ukraine escalates.
The report also stated that several energy companies admitted at the meeting that there are no other alternative supplies of natural gas that can match the volumes Russia provides to Europe.
The United States has threatened to stop Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline if the situation over Ukraine escalates.
Democrats sink Ted Cruz Senate bill to sanction Nord Stream 2
On Thursday, the US Senate rejected Republican Senator Ted Cruz's bill to sanction entities that construct and operate the pipeline.
The Biden administration had been lobbying Democrats to defeat the bill, with the vote reaching 55-44 in the end. The bill needed just five more votes (60) to pass.
In addition to several US administrations opposing the pipeline under the pretense that it would give Russia more control over Europe, thus increasing its dependency on the former's energy exports, the pipeline would also deprive Ukraine of billions of dollars in gas transit fees.
It is worth mentioning that the EU Council extended Thursday sanctions on Russia for 6 months in light of the escalating tensions with Ukraine.
The sanctions also come despite attempts at mending the torn relations between Russia and the West through the Geneva talks with Washington on security guarantees over Ukraine.
No point in US Sanctions
Earlier, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, announced that the US administration will impose sanctions against two Russian ships and against a company involved in the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project, which also has links with Russia.
Blinken said that sanctions will be applied against TransAdria Limited, and its ship, the Marilyn, which will be classified as embargoed property.
"Even as the administration continues to oppose the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, including via our sanctions, we continue to work with Germany and other allies and partners to reduce the risks posed by the pipeline to Ukraine and frontline NATO and EU countries and to push back against harmful Russian activities, including in the energy sphere," he added.
However, Washington’s sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 project are pointless as the construction of the gas pipeline has been completed, Dmitry Birichevsky, the Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Department of Economic Cooperation, told Sputnik.
"To be honest, we see no point in Washington's sanctions policy in conditions when the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline has already been built," the diplomat said.
Birichevsky added the US actions against the project are "contrary to the interests of most European countries."
"We believe that the certification of the gas pipeline, it is commissioning, and further use will be carried out based on the legal norms in force in the EU," the diplomat added.