Dutch companies involved in Nord Stream 2 may face sanctions, US ambassador says

Dutch companies like Shell, Boskalis and Van Oord may face sanctions if they remain connected to the Nord Stream 2 project, according to Pete Hoekstra, the United States Ambassador to the Netherlands. If the companies are sanctioned, they could find it difficult to do business with the U.S., NOS reports.

The Nord Stream 2 project involves building a gas pipeline that will transport billions of cubic meters of gas from Russia to Europe. The pipeline has been under construction for years. The expectation is that it can start operating some time next year. The American government believes that Russia will thereby increase its influence in Europe. The Dutch government regards Nord Stream 2 as a private project and therefore sees no active role for the Netherlands in this case, according to the broadcaster.

Hoekstra does not agree with that. "We think there are also geopolitical motives behind this project", he said. "Germany also acknowledged that recently." He did not want to say whether the Dutch government's attitude is encouraging possible sanctions. "That decision is made in Washington, not The Hague." But according to Hoekstra, companies must quickly decide whether they want to stay connected to the project. "And when they do that, it will have consequences", he said, according to the broadcaster.

Minister Eric Wiebes of Economic Affairs said in a reaction that he finds it too early to worry about sanctions and emphasized that the Netherlands also needs the gas from Nord Stream 2. Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs said that the involved Dutch companies should primarily seek contact with the U.S. themselves, because in his view this is a purely economic project.

Van Oord and Boskalis said they are following developments "day by day" and see no reason to anticipate any consequences of cooperating with the project. Shell finds it important to respect the obligations in the project within the framework of the applicable trade rules.