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EU warns US over new sanctions

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LNG Industry,

According to the latest Reuters report, the EU warned that it was ready to act within days to counter proposed new US sanctions on Russia, saying they would harm the bloc's energy security.

Sanctions legislation overwhelmingly approved by the US House of Representatives has angered EU officials: they see it as breaking transatlantic unity in the West's response to Moscow's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Brussels also fears the new sanctions will harm European companies with connections to Russia, and oil and gas projects on which the EU is dependent.

Most measures taken by Brussels would require approval from all 28 EU member governments, which could expose potential differences in individual nations' relations with Moscow and Washington.

Despite changes to the US bill that took into account some EU concerns, Brussels said the legislation could still hinder upkeep of the gas pipeline network in Russia that feeds into Ukraine and supplies over a quarter of EU needs. The EU says it could also hamper projects crucial to its energy diversification goals, such as the Baltic LNG project.

The new sanctions target the disputed Nord Stream 2 project for a new pipeline running from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

A list prepared by the EU executive shows eight projects including those involving oil majors Anglo-Dutch Shell, BP and Italy's Eni that risk falling foul of the US measures.

European energy industry sources voiced alarm at the potentially wide-ranging damage of the new US measures.

Five Western companies are partnered with Russia's Gazprom in Nord Stream 2: German's Wintershall and Uniper, Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, Austria's OMV and France's Engie.

But EU officials warn the US measures would also hit plans for the LNG plant on the Gulf of Finland in which Shell is partnering with Gazprom.

The EU document shows they might jeopardise Eni's 50% stake in the Blue Stream pipeline from Russia to Turkey as well as the CPC pipeline, carrying Kazakh oil to the Black Sea, involving European groups BG Overseas Holdings, Shell and Eni.

It further warns that BP would be forced to halt some activities with Russian energy major Rosneft.

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