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Sunday, November 28, 2021

German agency suspends certification for Nord Stream 2 pipeline

The controversial gas pipeline connecting Germany and Russia has been completed — but German officials have now blocked its certification process.

By: Deutsche Welle |
November 16, 2021 5:38:05 pm
An aerial view shows specialists onboard the laybarge Fortuna performing an above-water tie-in while finishing the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas subsea pipeline in the Baltic Sea, September 8, 2021. (Via Reuters)

The subsidiary set to operate the German part of Nord Stream 2 does not meet the conditions to be an “independent transmissions operator,” a German regulator said on Tuesday.

It could be certified only “if that operator was organized in a legal form under German law,” Germany’s Federal Network Agency said.

The certification would stay suspended “until the main assets and human resources have been transferred to the subsidiary,” the officials added.

The suspension comes as the Switzerland-based company Nord Stream 2 AG plans to establish a subsidiary under German law only for the German section of the pipeline.

Nord Stream 2 said it had been notified by the regulator but said, “We are not in the position to comment on the details of the procedure, its possible duration and impacts on the timing of the start of the pipeline operations.”

Controversial project

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is to transport gas from Russia to Germany and to other countries. It is owned by Russian-controlled gas giant Gazprom with investment from several European companies.

The pipeline was built under the Baltic Sea and bypasses Poland and Ukraine, which have both raised objections. Ukraine stands to lose revenue if gas to Europe is not conveyed through its territory. Poland, for its part, fears the project will further strengthen Gazprom’s already dominant position in the region.

The project has also been opposed by several other countries, including, notably, the US, which says it will dangerously increase Europe’s dependence on Russia for its energy suppy.

However, despite opposing the pipeline in principle, the Biden administration in July dropped efforts to block it with sanctions, striking a deal with Germany that includes support for Ukraine and the threat of sanctions if Russia is deemed to “weaponize” fuel deliveries.

Recently, critics accused Russia of deliberately cutting its gas supply to Europe as a ploy to speed up Germany’s certification of the pipeline. Moscow has denied the allegations.

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