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UPDATE 1-Nord Stream 2 says 160 km left to lay of gas pipeline to Europe

Maria Grabar and Vladimir Soldatkin

(Adds details, background)

MOSCOW, Dec 23 (Reuters) - The consortium behind Nord Stream 2 said on Monday that about 160 km (100 miles) of gas pipeline still needed to be laid, after a major contractor suspended work last week due to U.S. sanctions.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed a bill on Friday that included legislation imposing sanctions on firms laying pipe for the Nord Stream 2 project, which is led by Russian state energy company Gazprom and will supply Russian gas to Germany and other European customers.

After the bill was signed, Nord Stream 2 said it aimed to complete the project but did not provide details.

The United States says the pipeline, which will run along the Baltic Sea floor, will make Europe too reliant on Russian gas. Russia says Washington is using sanctions as an economic weapon to increase U.S. liquefied natural gas sales to Europe.

More than 2,300 km of the pipeline has been laid to date. The pipeline will be about 2,460 km long when completed.

Russia is exporting gas to Europe via a number of routes, with Ukraine remaining the key one. Two other routes are the Yamal pipeline via Belarus and Nord Stream 1 via the Baltic Sea to Germany. Europe gets over a third of its gas needs from Gazprom.

Nord Stream 2 is aimed at doubling the existing Nord Stream 1's export capacity to a total of 110 billion cubic metres a year. Gazprom has planned to start Nord Stream 2 in the first half of the next year.

With Nord Stream 2, Russia has planned to bypass Ukraine with which it has had a number of gas disputes in the past. Over the weekend, Moscow and Kiev managed to prevent another gas conflict, signing a new five-year transit deal days before the existing one expires at the end of 2019.

Germany is Nord Stream 2's main supporter in western Europe. A member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives said on Monday that sanctions were expected to delay completion of the project by several months and increase its cost.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the Russian government to work out retaliatory measures following U.S. sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, Interfax news agency reported on Monday. (Reporting by Maria Grabar; Writing by Vladimir Soldatkin/Katya Golubkova; Editing by Edmund Blair and Susan Fenton)