(RightWing.org) – Following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine, the West has levied sanctions against not only Putin and his parliament, but also on banking institutions. Perhaps one of the biggest hits to the Russian president, however, is the loss of lobbyists for the controversial Nord Stream 2 Pipeline.
On February 23, in the wake of Russia’s continuing escalations in Ukraine, President Joe Biden hit Nord Stream 2 AG — the Swiss company responsible for managing the pipeline — and its corporate officers with sanctions. This is a complete reversal of his 2021 stance that allowed construction of the pipeline to resume, despite severe GOP opposition. The sanctions triggered a chain reaction from lobbying firms.
Three Lobbying Firms Cut Ties
Following Biden’s statement, lobbying firms Roberti Global, BGR Government Affairs, and McLarty Inbound complied with the sanctions and dropped Nord Stream 2 AG as a client. The impact is likely to affect Roberti Global the most as it received $2.4 million from the Swiss company to lobby for the pipeline’s construction in 2021. BGR received $870,000 the same year for its efforts. McLarty, which once argued against sanctions at the Atlantic Council, dropped its representation of Western European investors in the pipeline. These include ENGIE, Shell, OMV, Wintershall DEA, and Uniper.
These lobbyists aren’t the only ones who cut ties with Nord Stream 2 AG. Sidley Austin, a law firm that represents Russia’s VTB Bank, is seeking to cut ties to the financial institution amid sanctions. Simply put, Russia is bleeding left and right.
Impact on the Global Oil and Gas Chain
While the building stage of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was completed in October 2021, Russia was still waiting on its operating license, which is necessary to begin the flow of gas between Russia and Germany. However, following the Kremlin declaring the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk independent of Ukraine, Germany put the license on hold.
The main reason Russia aimed to complete Nord Stream 2 is to not only speed up the transmission of gas between the two countries, but also to avoid using the land-based pipelines that currently travel through both Ukraine and Poland, allowing the country to bypass transit fees.
The worry with Nord Stream 2 is that Russia could very well use it as a political tool, which is why it has faced heavy opposition throughout the years. If so inclined, it could create a stranglehold and cripple Europe’s gas supply.
The loss of lobbyists means fewer people left to fight for the pipeline’s continuation and without support, it could very well end up being another useless chunk of metal beneath the Baltic Sea.
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