Nord Stream 2 certification process suspended
The German government said November 16 it had suspended the certification process for the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline because the operator is not organised under German law.
The Nord Stream natural gas pipeline system delivers Russian supplies under the Baltic Sea to German. A second artery is nearly completed, though the formal certification process has been slow.
Bundesnetzagentur, the nation’s energy regulator, said it decided “after a detailed examination” to suspend the certification process because certification “is only possible if the operator is organised in a legal form under German law.”
Nord Stream 2 is headquartered in Switzerland. The German government said there is a subsidiary registered in Germany, but it deals only with the section of the pipeline running through its territory.
The agency said the certification process would remain suspended until the subsidiary transfers the “essential assets and human resources” to Germany and aligns itself further with German law.
Nord Stream 2 had no public comment on the decision. Konstantin Kosachev, the deputy speaker in Russia’s upper house of parliament, told Russian news agency Tass, however, that the decision does nothing to ease the pain of higher natural gas prices for the European economy.
“Another sharp jump in gas prices in Europe became the first visible result of today's decision, and the relevant negative costs will again be borne by consumers, by Europeans,” he said. “So, procedures are procedures, but any delay in the certification of the pipeline, especially on the eve of winter, is absolutely not in the interests of the united Europe.”
The Nord Stream 2 company is 100%-owned by Russian energy company Gazprom, which will also supply all of the gas that flows through the pipeline. Under a recent EU gas directive amendment, pipelines like Nord Stream 2 that run from third countries still must comply with EU energy market rules on unbundling and third-party access.