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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Nord Stream 2 – PGNiG and PST approved for the operator’s proceedings

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Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo and its subsidiary PST have been approved by the German regulator BNetzA for certification proceedings regarding the operator of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, the Polish company said in a statement.

On September 8, BNetzA began considering the application of Nord Stream 2 AG – the owner of the gas pipeline – for certification as the operator of a part of the gas pipeline in the so-called the Independent Transmission System Operator (ITO) model. The need to appoint an independent operator results from the revision of the gas directive of 2019.

The ITO model enables the operator to operate despite the lack of full ownership separation from the owner-company involved in the production and supply of natural gas, in this case – Gazprom.


Nord Stream 2 certification – PGNiG admitted to the procedure

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In the opinion of PGNiG – the certification of Nord Stream 2 AG as an ITO would be inconsistent with EU law, which allows such a model only for transmission systems existing before May 23, 2019. At that time, it was not possible to talk about the existence of a transmission system, because the gas pipeline was not even built – argues the Polish company. Therefore, PGNiG and PST are of the opinion that Nord Stream 2 AG does not meet the formal and substantive conditions for certification in the ITO model. Moreover, both companies argue that a positive decision of the BNetzA would pose a threat to the energy security of the EU and individual Member States.

According to the president of PGNiG, Paweł Majewski, the application for certification in the ITO model submitted by Nord Stream 2 AG proves that the Swiss company is still striving to obtain regulatory privilege.

– The effects of our involvement in the Nord Stream 2 case so far show that we can effectively defend our arguments. In the case of an application for a derogation of the gas pipeline from the requirements of EU law, the Higher National Court in Düsseldorf shared the arguments raised by PGNiG SA and PST GmbH and dismissed the complaint of Nord Stream 2 AG, Majewski stated.

As he added, as part of the certification procedure, PGNiG will strive to ensure that the owner of Nord Stream 2 cannot avoid the application of ownership unbundling requirements, third party access to infrastructure and transparent tariffs, taking into account the costs of the entire gas pipeline.

– We will consistently prove that Nord Stream 2 AG does not meet the formal and substantive requirements for the operator of the gas pipeline, in particular those relating to energy security and the company’s corporate structure, Majewski stated.

Both companies from the PGNiG Group emphasize that commencing the operation of the gas pipeline before obtaining a possible certification decision will constitute a breach of German and EU law. Operating without certification will discriminate against energy companies and will distort the conditions of competition on the internal gas market. For this reason, the companies reserve the right to take advantage of all legal measures aimed at counteracting such behavior, the companies of Nord Stream 2 AG, informed PGNiG and PST.

Pursuant to European law, the BNetzA has four months to conduct the procedure and prepare a draft decision, which will then be submitted for approval to the European Commission. This one will be at least a month old. The 4-month period runs from September 8.

Nord Stream 2 – construction

In the first half of September, the Russian concern Gazprom has announced the completion of the construction of Nord Stream 2. Bloomberg forecasted that from October this could start deliveries via one line of this line, and by December 1 this year. both threads may start working.

At the same time, it was recalled that the pipeline was to be launched initially in 2019, but its completion was delayed as the contractors were threatened with US sanctions. The agency pointed out that the situation changed after in May this year. US President Joe Biden decided to lift some of the sanctions, and then made a deal with Germany that promised a reaction should Russia try to blackmail Ukraine by using the transmission of energy resources.

Construction of Nord Stream 2 is completedNord Stream 2 / Axel Schmidt

Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

Nord Stream 2 is a double pipeline from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea, which is to transport 55 billion m3 of natural gas annually. The gas pipeline is opposed by Poland, Ukraine, the Baltic states and the USA. Critics of Nord Stream 2 argue, inter alia, that the project will increase Europe’s dependence on Russian gas and extend the Kremlin’s influence on European politics.

Recently, Volodymyr Zelensky in Berlin once again emphasized that the launch of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline poses a threat from Russia to the entire region, and the project not only deprives his country of the status of a transit state, but also “loosens the hands” of the authorities in the Kremlin conducting aggressive actions against Ukraine.

PAP / Adam Ziemienowicz

Main photo source: Nord Stream 2 / Axel Schmidt

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