Nord Stream 2 no panacea: Uniper
German utility Uniper said delays in the certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline mean the project is unlikely to address European market woes, the Reuters news service reported October 1.
"The certification of the pipeline, as far as I know, will be so late it will probably not be able to help us out this winter," Uniper chief executive Klaus-Dieter Mauchbach told the news service.
Uniper is one of five Western companies financing the Gazprom-led natural gas pipeline that runs through the Baltic Sea to Germany. Gazprom's wholly-owned Swiss subsidiary Nord Stream 2 AG is applying for certification as an independent transmission system operator, a key requirement if the 55bn m³/yr pipeline is to start commercial operations.
The formal start of operations could alleviate supply-side pressures that are in part behind the exponential increase in natural gas prices. The 1,200-km pipeline is for all intents and purposes complete, though certification process, which started in September, can take as long as four months.
The pipeline is symbolic of geopolitical dynamics pitting Russia against Western powers. Many in the West oppose the project because it strengthens Russia’s grip on the European energy sector. Russia, for its part, says the pipeline is a boost to European energy security because it avoids geopolitically sensitive territory in Ukraine. The pipeline, meanwhile, starves Ukraine of transit revenue it would otherwise receive from the gas shipped through its territory to Europe.
Ukraine state gas supplier Naftogaz expressed gratitude last week to the US Congress for passing a provision that imposes mandatory sanctions on companies and people dealing with the planning, construction and operation of the pipeline.
The provision was part of congressional amendments to the US defence budget.