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Nord Stream 2. Russia. Kremlin: Germany’s decision to withhold certification is not political

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The decision of the German regulator to suspend the certification process of the company operating Nord Stream 2 is not politicized, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday. “The operator is ready to meet any requirements,” said Peskov. According to the “Kommersant” daily, the delay means that the launch of Nord Stream 2 may be delayed until the summer of 2022.

The Kremlin representative argued that certification is “a rather complicated process, which was known from the very beginning.” He indicated that Nord Stream 2 AG, the operator of the gas pipeline, announced that it would meet the requirements of the German regulator. According to the Russian media, this will require the establishment of a new company, registered in Germany, while Nord Stream 2 AG is registered in Switzerland.

Asked whether the Russian-German gas pipeline will be launched by the end of the year, Peskov said that the institutions that decide about the certification of Nord Stream 2 should be asked about it.


Nord Stream 2. Suspension of certification

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The German regulator BNetzA announced on Tuesday that the certification process had been suspended. According to the “Kommersant” daily, the delay means that the launch of Nord Stream 2 may be delayed until the summer of 2022.

The German regulator argued that Nord Stream AG is registered in Switzerland, and the operator should operate according to German law. The regulator announced that Nord Stream 2 AG decided not to change the form of operation, but to appoint a subsidiary operating under German law. As reported by BNetzA, this subsidiary is to become the owner and operator of the Nord Stream 2 section, located in German territorial waters. Therefore, this company must meet the requirements of the German law regarding the operator in the ITO (Independent Transmission Operator) model, for which Nord Stream 2 AG is applying.

The certification process has been suspended until key assets and human resources have been transferred to the new entity and until the BNetzA is able to review the documents submitted by the new entity for completeness. The German regulator emphasized that if these conditions are met, the BNetzA will be able to continue the certification process in order to meet the 4-month deadline for issuing the draft decision and presenting it to the European Commission.

The procedure for the certification of the Nord Stream 2 operator includes, inter alia, PGNiG and its subsidiary PST. 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 take the position that Nord Stream 2 AG does not meet the formal and substantive conditions for certification in the ITO model.

Nord Stream 2

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 construction of the pipeline is opposed by Poland, Ukraine, the Baltic states and the USA. Critics of Nord Stream 2 argue that the project will increase Europe’s dependence on Russian gas and extend the Kremlin’s influence on European politics.

Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelinesPAP / Adam Ziemienowicz

Main photo source: Gazprom

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