WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Friday he had a fruitful meeting with U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and that the two countries were determined to resolve the dispute over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline by the end of August.
Altmaier told reporters after meeting Granholm that he was encouraged by comments made this week by Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken, who indicated that the pipeline was almost complete and that any solution had to be mutually acceptable.
“We are determined to find a solution by August,” Altmaier said. “There is a lot that needs to be done to untie this Gordian knot and it is definitely worth working towards a good solution.”
Washington opposes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which could double Russian gas exports through the Baltic Sea and help Russia reduce gas exports through Ukraine, thus eliminating transit fees from Kiev.
The US State Department concluded in May that Nord Stream 2 AG — the company behind the pipeline to Germany — and its chief executive, Matthias Warnig, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had committed criminal acts.
Blinken waived these sanctions, saying they were in the national interest of the United States, and President Joe Biden later said the decision reflected his desire to rebuild relations with Germany.
Altmaier said the issue remains complex given geopolitical, energy and trade interests, but he is optimistic that a solution can be found, particularly given the shared interest of both countries in moving away from fossil fuels.
Altmaier said that during negotiations with the previous Trump administration, Germany agreed to build two LNG plants that could receive gas supplies from the United States in the event of problems with Russia, but the new US administration is more interested in developing carbon dioxide-neutral energy solutions.
He said he told Granholm that Germany, like the United States, is investing heavily in technologies aimed at lowering the cost of making what’s known as green hydrogen, which is made using renewable energy to power a water-transforming electrolyzer.
“We agreed that we want to share and develop knowledge and possibly work on projects with other countries,” he said.
(Andrea Shalal reports). By Lisa Lambert
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