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The German regulator reviewing the certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will not make a decision before July 2022, the president of the regulator said on Thursday, in another setback for the Russia-led project that could send European gas prices higher.
In the middle of November, Germany said it had suspended the process of certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
The Federal Network Agency of Germany, Bundesnetzagentur, suspended 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 network agency’s president Jochen Homann said on Thursday that “A decision won’t be made in the first half of 2022,” as carried by Bloomberg.
The agency will resume the certification process as soon as the criteria it had set in its rationale for suspending the procedure are met. Bundesnetzagentur is still waiting for the pipeline project operator Nord Stream 2 AG to submit documents, Homann said at a press conference.
In response to Bloomberg, Nord Stream 2 AG declined to comment on “details of the procedure, its possible duration and impacts on the timing of the start of the pipeline operations.”
The pipeline construction is completed, but Nord Stream 2 is awaiting full regulatory clearance from Germany and a review by the European Union over its compliance with EU energy regulations.
Some analysts and EU officials have attributed the inconsistent Russian gas supply to Europe in recent weeks to Moscow using gas as leverage to get Nord Stream 2 approved.
Earlier this week, Europe’s gas prices surged again to near-record highs after Germany indicated it had no intention of approving Nord Stream 2 before requirements under German law were satisfied.
However, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also said that the situation in Ukraine was also a factor in the German government’s decision on the matter.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.
Moreover, Russia is earning extra revenues from rising gas prices while Germany and the EU countries are paying through the nose.
Therefore, Russia could afford the delay in the certification of Nord Stream 2 satisfied with the knowledge that there is a short supply of gas in the world now and that neither Qatari, US or Australian LNG nor Norway’s gas can satisfy the EU gas needs. Only Russia can.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London