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Nord Stream 2 Operator Begins Gas Tests

Nord Stream AG has started feeding gas into the same-name pipeline to run tests as part of pre-commissioning preparations.

"The first string will be filled gradually to build the required inventory and pressure as a prerequisite for later technical tests," said the Swiss-based company as quoted by Reuters.

Meanwhile, in a separate report, Reuters revealed that Germany had approached Nord Stream 2 for assurances that it would meet all regulatory requirements when it enters into operation. This may be an indication that Germany is close to approving the politically charged piece of infrastructure.

"The Federal Network Agency today requested Nord Stream 2 AG to provide information and, if necessary, evidence that all regulatory requirements will be met in the context of operating the pipeline," the German Federal Network Agency—the watchdog for electricity and gas markets, among others—said in a statement cited in the report.

The controversy around Nord Stream 2, which initially centered on the fact that with it more Russian gas will bypass Ukraine, has now shifted to accusations that Moscow is using—and even causing—the energy crunch to force Germany into approving the new project. Gazprom has struck back, saying it is delivering exactly as much gas to the EU as is stipulated in their long-term contracts.

The United States is also against the project, fearing a deepening EU dependence on Russian fossil fuels. In 2019, Washington slapped sanctions on Nord Stream 2 and threatened to sanction the European partners in the project. Since then, the tone has mellowed somewhat, but not a lot. Russian pipeline gas remains the biggest competitor for U.S. LNG, along with Qatari LNG.

The 1,200-km, $111-billion pipeline will have the capacity to send 55 billion cu m of natural gas from Russia to Germany annually once it gets all necessary approvals.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on October 05 2021 said:
    The European Union (EU) could have saved itself a lot of the energy crisis it is facing now just before the onset of winter if it didn’t politicize energy by using delaying tactics to delay the operation of the newly completed Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline which is supposed to bring 50 billion cubic metres of additional Russian gas supplies under the Baltic Sea to Germany and the EU.

    The EU could have issued a temporary operational licence for Nord Stream 2 to enable it to bring additional Russian gas supplies much earlier instead of wasting more than a month since the completion of the gas pipeline before the German energy regulator will start to run tests as part of pre-commissioning preparations.

    Taking a stab at Russia is one way the EU is trying to shift the blame for the crisis from itself to Russia.

    However, the truth is that Russian gas giant Gazprom has fulfilled its contractual obligations to the EU and no one in Europe is disputing that. In fact Gazprom’s exports to the EU rose by 23.2% between January and July this year. These figures prove the absurdity of accusing Gazprom of supply shortage. If the EU misjudged the gas market and didn’t order more Russian gas, it can’t blame Gazprom for its misjudgement.

    If the EU wants more gas supplies, then the onus is on it to stop playing politics with Nord Stream 2 and facilitate the immediate issuing of a temporary operational licence for it.

    The overwhelming majority of Europeans know that the United States’ continued opposition to Nord Stream 2 has very little to do with the EU’s energy security and far more to do about selling US LNG to the EU.

    The truth of the matter is that Russian piped gas supplies are far cheaper than US or Qatari LNG.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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