Naftogaz wants say in Nord Stream 2 certification
Ukraine's national gas company Naftogaz has filed a request with German energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) to take part in the certification process at Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, it said on October 18.
Nord Stream 2 has been declared technically ready to flow gas. But before its commercial launch, the pipeline operating company that is owned by Russia's Gazprom must be certified as an independent operator.
Germany's economy ministry is consulting with neighbouring states about issues of gas supply security as part of the Nord Stream 2 certification process. After finishing these discussions, it will recommend whether BNetzA should certify the Nord Stream 2 operator or not.
"Our position is that Nord Stream 2 cannot be certified because it does not fully comply with European legislation," Naftogaz chairman Yuriy Vitrenko said in a statement. "We aim to demonstrate to the German regulator that certification of the Nord Stream 2 operator would significantly harm competition on the German market, as well as on the markets of Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Austria."
The EU amended its gas directive in 2019 to apply bloc rules to pipelines coming from third countries such as Nord Stream 2. Ukraine and other opponents of Nord Stream 2 argue this means that the pipeline should not be certified.
"European energy law requires that the operator of a gas pipeline should not be controlled by the same company responsible for production (in this case Gazprom, or to be more accurate, Vladimir Putin, who stands behind Gazprom," Naftogaz said. "European law also requires non-discriminatory third party access to the pipeline. If you look at the essence of this legislation, it should be applied to the entire pipeline starting from its entry point on the border of the Russian Federation."
Vitrenko said Naftogaz's involvement in Nord Stream 2's certification "would oblige BNetzA to formally consider Naftogaz’s position and arguments" and mean that the regulator "is truly independent and free from undue influence from certain political forces in Germany who openly sympathise with Putin's project."
BNetzA has already permitted Poland's state gas company PGNiG and its German subsidiary to take part in the pipeline's certification. The Polish government staunchly opposes Nord Stream 2 on energy security grounds.