Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline Lays Off All Employees: The operator of pipeline connecting Russia with Germany faces ‘massive payment difficulties’ amid sanctions, Swiss economic official says

By Alexander Gladstone March 1, 2022 2:29 pm ET SAVE PRINT TEXT 6 The operator of Nord Stream 2 AG, a major gas pipeline connecting Russia with Germany, has laid off more than 100 workers and wound down its operations, according to a Swiss official.

Nord Stream 2 has massive payment difficulties due to the sanctions imposed in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and has dismissed all of its 106 employees, said Silvia Thalmann-Gut, a senior executive in the local government of a Swiss region, on Tuesday.

“Continued employment is no longer possible due to the payment difficulties,” she said, noting that the company hasn’t filed for insolvency at this time.

Germany froze the Russian-German Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline last week after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the independence of two Russian-controlled breakaway regions of Ukraine and sent troops there as it launched its invasion of the country.

The two onshore pipe exits of the Nord Stream 2 are pictured at a facility in Lubmin, Germany. PHOTO: HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/REUTERS The sanctions on the company, Nord Stream 2 AG, and its chief executive officer were part of the administration’s response to the invasion, a U.S. official said.

The submarine pipeline, which was nearing operability but awaiting the final green light from Berlin, was expected to double direct Russian gas exports to Germany. The U.S. and some of Germany’s allies have argued the project, costing €10 billion, or around $11.2 billion, would act to increase Russia’s leverage over European gas supplies.

The Trump administration imposed sanctions on the project, though the Biden White House removed them. Germany had argued the pipeline is a private, and not political, endeavor that is critical to boost its gas supply.