February 15, 2018
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s nominee for a top State Department energy position said on Thursday he would oppose Russia’s proposed natural gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany – the Nord Stream 2.
“The United States’ position, it is my understanding, is to strongly oppose that pipeline,” Francis Fannon, who has been nominated Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, said during his U.S. Senate confirmation hearing.
Fannon said he would “continue to advance alternate ways” to decrease Europe’s need for Russian energy.
As the Trump administration looks to energy exports as a way to strengthen the United States’ international influence, the United States sees the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany as a threat to Europe’s energy security.
Poland, Ukraine and Baltic states fear the pipeline would increase Europe’s dependence on Russian gas and provide the Kremlin billions of dollars of revenue to finance a further military build-up on Europe’s borders.
But Germany and Austria have focused on the commercial benefits of having more cheap gas, arguing there could be little harm from an additional pipe.
Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Bernadette Baum