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June 8 (Reuters) - The Nord Stream 2 pipeline looks set for completion after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday called it a “fait accompli” and said United States was working with Germany to mitigate its effects.
The Biden administration last month waived sanctions on the company behind Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany and its chief executive.
Led by Russia’s Gazprom with Western partners, the pipeline, which doubles the capacity of the existing Nord Stream 1 (NS 1) link has attracted opposition in the European Union.
The United States has said NS 2 increases the EU’s reliance on Russia while NS 2 supporters say the United States is seeking to increase liquefied natural gas (LNG) sales to Europe.
The following are significant moments in Nord Stream 2’s development:
November: Gazprom and Western partners look into expanding the pipeline system by a further 55 billion cubic metres at an estimated cost of 9.5 euros ($11.3 billion).
June: Gazprom, Royal Dutch Shell, E.ON, OMV, Wintershall and ENGIE agree to build the pipeline.
March: Eight EU governments object citing geopolitical reasons.
April: Financing agreements are signed.
January: Germany grants permits for construction and operation.
January: The U.S. ambassador to Germany says companies could face sanctions.
December: Swiss-Dutch company Allseas suspends pipe-laying.
Trump signs a defence policy bill including sanctions.
January: Russia targets a start in first quarter 2021.
May: Germany’s energy regulator declines to grant a waiver of EU gas directives to the operators.
May: An EU court throws out a challenge to EU gas rules from the operators of NS 1 and NS 2.
Sept. 3: Pressure mounts on Berlin to reconsider support after the alleged nerve agent attack on Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
Sept. 15: Data shows a Russian ship sailed for the supply base in Germany.
Sept. 23: The world’s largest group of shipping insurers says it will not insure vessels involved in NS 2.
Oct. 1: Denmark gives NS 2 permission to operate in Danish waters.
Oct. 7: Poland fines Gazprom more than 29 billion zlotys, having launched proceedings in June.
Nov. 4: Gazprom appeals in a Polish court against the fine.
Nov. 28: NS 2 says it plans to resume finishing a 2.6 km stretch in German waters.
Dec. 3: The United States unveils a bill targeting companies and individuals helping NS 2.
Dec. 11: NS 2 says the vessel Fortuna has resumed work.
Dec. 22: The Danish Maritime Authority issues notification of pipe-laying works from Jan. 15.
Dec. 24: The Kremlin says new U.S. sanctions could complicate the completion.
Dec. 28: NS 2 says it has completed the 2.6 km section in German waters.
Jan 6: The northern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern decides to set up a foundation to help the completion of NS 2.
Jan 13: The U.S. State Department warns European companies of sanctions.
Jan 14-15: NS 2 says pipe-laying will resume in Germany on Jan. 15.
Uniper and Wintershall Dea say they did not receive any threats.
Jan 20: Trump on his last full day in office imposes sanctions on Fortuna.
Gazprom successfully places an 8-year Eurobond worth $2 billion suggesting investors see limited risks.
German environmental groups file complaints with maritime regulator BSH, effectively preventing further work in Germany for now.
Jan. 21: The European parliament passes a resolution calling for a stop to NS 2 completion in response to the arrest of Navalny in Russia.
Jan. 24: Fortuna resumes work in Danish waters.
Feb 5: Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany is sticking with its support for the pipeline “for the time being”, after condemning Russia’s expulsion of diplomats from Sweden, Germany and Poland.
April 22: The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee advances a bill to pressure companies helping to build NS 2.
April 27: Russian vessel Akademik Cherskiy starts laying pipes for the project in Danish waters.
May 19: The U.S. State Department waives sanctions around participants of Nord Stream 2, saying it was in the U.S. national interest.
May 25: German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she expects further discussions with the United States on the Nord Stream 2 project.
June 1: The Kremlin says Moscow welcomes the United States’ decision to refrain from sanctioning the pipeline, adding Russia does not plan to stop sending gas via Ukraine, the Interfax news agency reports.
June 4: President Vladimir Putin tells an economic forum that Russia has finished laying the first line of the pipeline to Germany.
June 7: Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the completion of Nord Stream 2 is a “fait accompli”, defending the U.S. decision to waive some sanctions and vowing a response if Moscow tries to use gas as a weapon. (Reporting by Tommy Lund and Bartosz Dabrowski in Gdansk Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Milla Nissi)