Last Updated on October 3, 2022
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that the bombings of both Nord Stream pipelines presents a “tremendous opportunity” for Europe to move away from Russian oil. Blinken issued the remarks during a joint-press conference with Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly last week.
“On the subject of Nord Stream, Secretary and Minister, regardless of responsibility, obviously the energy supply situation in Europe is bad and only going to get worse as a result of this,” Blinken was asked by a reporter. “I’m wondering if the two of you spoke at all today about what your two countries can do either independently or collectively to help to ease some of that pressure. And is there a heightened sense of danger in light of that if we’re talking about providing supplies – shipping supplies across the ocean, is it as simple as that or is it more complicated now as a result of these attacks?”
“First it’s important to make clear that these pipelines – that is, Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 – were not pumping gas into Europe at this time. Nord Stream 2 never became operational, as is well known. Nord Stream 1 has been shut down for weeks because of Russia’s weaponization of energy,” Blinken said.
Nord Stream 2 was never completed, as the German government opted to permanently discontinue the project after the Russian invasion of Ukraine this past February. Nord Stream 1 was operating at limited capacity until July, however, until Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom opted to halt flows completely.
In 2021, Germany received 34% of its crude oil imports from Russia. The nation’s prior reliance on Nord Stream has caused energy prices to skyrocket and has heightened fears of energy rationing this winter. Energy costs in the nation are currently 43.9% higher when compared with September 2021.
Blinken went on to tell reporters that Nord Stream no longer being an option presents strategic opportunities for the United States. “There’s a lot of hard work to do to make sure that countries and partners get through the winter. Europe itself has taken very significant steps to both decrease demand but also look at ways to pursue the transition to renewables at the same time,” he said.
“And ultimately this is also a tremendous opportunity. It’s a tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy and thus to take away from Vladimir Putin the weaponization of energy as a means of advancing his imperial designs. That’s very significant and that offers tremendous strategic opportunity for the years to come.”
According to @SecBlinken, the Nord Stream pipeline bombing "offers tremendous strategic opportunity for the years to come." Too bad that this tremendous opportunity for DC bureaucrats will come at the expense of everyone else, especially this coming winter. pic.twitter.com/T2eacQUuBF
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) October 1, 2022
Intelligence agencies in the United States and the European Union have stated that the pipes were deliberately sabotaged and have pointed the finger at the Russian government. At the same time, Moscow has denied the allegations and have suggested the United States was responsible.
An investigation of the suspected bombings is still ongoing.