Nord Stream 2 could start running faster. “The fight for the Baltic gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 has reached a new level of escalation. There are many indications that Russian natural gas will soon be delivered via the pipeline to Germany, although not all permits have been obtained yet,” writes the portal RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND).
“One thing is certain, fuel can be pumped to Greifswald in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern” – writes the portal. “According to the information from the Federal Network Agency, all technical requirements for the launch of Nord Stream 2 have already been met and the relevant certificates have been submitted to the responsible authorities (…)” – said a spokesman for the supervisory authority in Bonn in an interview with RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND).
Nord Stream 2 – gas pipeline filling has started
The filling of the first line of the Baltic pipeline began on Monday. The construction and operating company informed RND that 300,000 million cubic meters of natural gas would first be pumped into the pipeline to build up the necessary pressure that would be needed to transport the gas on a regular basis. This filling process takes several weeks.
The gas pipeline is to deliver 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Germany annually, some of which will be transported to other EU countries. The last 50 kilometers of the pipeline, worth ten billion euros, are located in Germany. Therefore, it requires very special certificates.
“The Bonn regulator has doubts that everything is okay,” emphasizes RND. “It cannot be ruled out that a section of the interconnector will be commissioned in the near future,” says a spokesman for the network agency. He added: “for this reason, the Federal Network Agency asked Nord Stream 2 AG in a letter dated October 4, 2021 to provide immediate information and, if necessary, to provide evidence that all regulatory requirements will be met and maintained in the context of operation. interconnector “.
“We also need a certificate from the Federal Ministry of Economy that the project will not jeopardize the security of supply in Germany and the EU. All this must then be approved by the European Commission. The procedure will not be completed before spring 2022, says an industry person,” writes RND.
In any event, the network agency “expressly reserved itself the right to immediately initiate a supervisory or fraud investigation against Nord Stream 2 AG.” If the separation rules are not met during commissioning, the authority may impose a fine. “There is talk of a million euros – which the operator could get over,” writes RND. “However, further fines may be imposed if the requirements continue to breach.”
“Observers, however, assume that Gazprom will take legal action against this, and at the same time will continue to be eagerly pumping – in the phase when gas prices have reached record levels,” the portal notes.
In the course of all these legal disputes, it is also theoretically possible that the future German government will try to stop the whole project – “but it’s a long way,” one insider tells RND. “It is clear, however, that the Greens (who will almost certainly be in the new German government – PAP) are among the harshest critics of Nord Stream 2” – writes RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland.
In any case, according to the portal, there is a simple way out for Russian gas exporters to end the dispute quickly if necessary. “50 kilometers of pipeline in Germany would simply have to be sold to a certified local pipeline operator: then the outstanding permits would no longer be needed.”
Nord Stream 2
Nord Stream 2 is a 1,230 km pipeline, the construction of which was completed in early September. The Russian state monopoly Gazprom has the right to vote in the operating company. Financial investors are also German companies Uniper and Wintershall Dea as well as oil and energy companies Shell (Netherlands), OMV (Austria) and Engie (France) – reminds the portal.
Main photo source: Nord Stream 2 / Paul Langrock