Germany to Shield NS2 from EU Law: Update
(clarifies legislative process, adds comment from German regulator)
Germany’s parliament has passed an energy bill allowing it to shield Russia’s Nord Stream 2 project from EU legislation that could restrict its use.
Amendments to the EU gas directive that came into force in May apply Brussels’ energy rules to new gas pipelines entering the bloc from third party countries, including requirements that pipelines cannot be owned by gas suppliers and at least 10% of their capacity be made available to third parties.
Russia’s state-owned gas supplier Gazprom is the sole owner of Nord Stream 2, and under Russian law is the only company that can export gas via pipeline.
It is up to member states to transpose the EU amendments in their national legislation. Furthermore, the amendments only affect the sections of import pipelines that are located within the territory of member states. As Nord Stream 2’s German section was built prior to May, it will be classified as a completed project under a bill passed by Germany’s Bundestag lower house on November 14, even though Gazprom is yet to finish all of Nord Stream 2’s offshore length. The amendments therefore would not apply.
The bill is expected to receive final confirmation from the German Federal Council (Bundesrat) on November 29. Germany's gas and power regulator, Bundesnetzagentur, told NGW it would "within the framework of its competences and the regulations applicable after the amended law comes into force, lead procedures for the exemption of regulatory provisions."
Nord Stream 2 will be capable of pumping up to 55bn m3/yr of Russian gas to Germany. It was originally scheduled to start up at the end of 2019, but Denmark’s delay in issuing permits held up construction. The Danish Energy Agency finally issued these permits on October 30.