Germany could resume the certification process for the Russia-led Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline in a few weeks, an analyst at a Moscow-based brokerage told Reuters on Monday after a call with senior executives at Gazprom.
Last week, Germany said it had suspended the process of certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
The Federal Network Agency of Germany, Bundesnetzagentur, said it suspended on Tuesday the procedure to certify Nord Stream 2 AG as an independent transmission operator until an operator of the pipeline in Germany is incorporated under German law.
The agency, which had until January 8, 2022, to express an opinion on the operating license, deals a blow to the pipeline and dashes hopes that it could start sending gas to Germany in time to save Europe from a gas crunch if this winter is colder than usual, analysts said last week.
Dmitry Marinchenko, Senior Director at Fitch Ratings, told Russian news agency TASS that “The case is more probably with procedural, rather than political point. Germany supports the project consistently and there is no use in looking for conspiracy in this case.”
The suspension of the certification could push the commissioning of Nord Stream 2 into March 2022, German government sources told Reuters last week.
This would mean that Nord Stream 2 cannot help boost gas supply to Europe, exposing it once again to shortages, especially in a colder winter.
This week, Ronald Smith, an analyst with BCS brokerage, told Reuters after speaking with senior Gazprom managers that Germany could resume the certification within two to three weeks, after Nord Stream 2 AG sets up a German unit under German law.
“The suspension of the approval by the German regulator was not a surprise for Gazprom. The Germans want to get the approval done, they are in the middle of an energy crisis,” Smith told Reuters.
Commenting on the certification process and a possible commissioning date, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last week, as carried by TASS:
“Guessing the timing now is a thankless job. And we would not want to do that.”
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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If the Europeans want to feel warm in winter, the German energy regulator and the EU Secretariat will have no choice but to certify it soon. The alternative will be a harsh winter for the Europeans and to avoid such a situation, the EU will be even prepared to sell the interests of Ukraine.
Russia is in the driving seat. It can easily sell its gas to China and India. The EU countries will pay a very heavy price for alternative gas supplies whilst the United States and Qatar can’t supply enough LNG to the EU because of short supply and rising demand in the Asia-Pacific region.
It will be the EU which will blink first not Russia.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London