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The Russia-led Nord Stream 2 pipeline could start shipping natural gas to Germany as early as next month, as Europe would not want to drag its feet with the certification process with storage levels so low, a top Russian lawmaker said on Friday.
"I can say with a high degree of certainty that the first gas via Nord Stream 2 will go in January," Pavel Zavalny, chairman of the energy committee at Russia's lower house of Parliament, told a conference online, as carried by Reuters.
Just yesterday, the German regulator reviewing the certification of Nord Stream 2 said it would not make a decision before July 2022, in another setback for the controversial Russia-led project.
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.
Speaking on Friday, the head of the energy committee at Russia's Parliament said, "Why am I sure about this? First of all, the timing for it (certification) is up in January. And it's not in the interests of Germany and other European Union's countries to drag on with this process further."
Gas in Europe's storage facilities will have declined by January, which would be another incentive for Germany and the EU not to delay the certification, Zavalny said.
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.
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.