Germany could seize control of Nord Stream 2: press
Germany could expropriate sections of Gazprom's Nord Stream 2 pipeline that run through German territory, allowing it to repurpose the route as a connection for an LNG terminal on the Baltic Sea coast, Reuters reported June 24, citing an account in German news weekly Der Spiegel.
While Reuters did not specify which LNG terminal it was referring to, the proposal could relate to the Lubmin port LNG project, which Germany's chancellor Olaf Scholz has said could launch within months as Berlin seeks to replace Russian gas imports.
Russia would hire lawyers to defend Gazprom's ownership rights over Nord Stream 2 should Berlin take concrete steps to proceed with the plan, a Kremlin spokesperson told Reuters, while refusing to comment on the Der Spiegel report directly.
Germany suspended the certification process necessary for Nord Stream 2's commercial operation on February 22, in response to Moscow's recognition of Ukraine's breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent. Gazprom's Western financiers for the 27.5bn m3/yr project subsequently wrote off loans worth billions of euros to the operating company, leaving it on the brink of insolvency despite the pipeline being almost ready to launch.
Gazprom had hoped to use Nord Stream 2's onshore section to bring gas to northwest Russia. It is unclear how Germany's move would affect these plans.