- Nord Stream 2 pipeline opposed by US, some Europeans
- Critics say: project makes Europe too dependent on Russia
- Pipeline could ease sky-high European gas prices
- Build complete, operator says tests started
DUESSELDORF, Oct. 5 (Reuters) – Germany’s energy regulator said the Nord Stream 2 pipeline must show it wouldn’t break competition rules by limiting which suppliers used and could face a fine if it started pumping Russian gas to Germany without obtaining the necessary approvals.
Nord Stream 2, a project led by Gazprom (GAZP.MM), die has a monopoly on Gas output via Russian pipelines, will pump the fuel via a pipeline under the Baltic Sea, die Ukraine bypasses, which is embroiled in a long-running territorial dispute with Moscow.
Construction is complete and tests are underway, but the project has faced opposition from the United States and some European countries, die say that Europe will become too dependent on Russian gas, which is good for about a third of European needs.
opponents also say Russia has exerted pressure to try speed up the German approval process by not supplying additional gas to Europe at a time when the region is facing an energy crisis amid rising global gas demand and sky-high prices.
The Kremlin says it fulfills its obligations.
That said the German regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) late on Monday it had the pipeline manager, it in Switzerland-based Nord Stream 2 AG, asked for show it met everything necessary regulatory requirements before the pipeline in was used.
“In this respect in especially for problems of not-discriminatory network access and the integration of the interconnector in the German market area’, it said, a reference to rules including making sure that the operator did not impose any restrictions access for other gas suppliers.
BNetzA, die said: in September had it four months to complete certification, said it couldn’t rule out that Nord Stream 2 operations could start soon. But it warned the operator that it could face a fine if it started up before obtaining the necessary certification. read more
Nord Stream 2 said: on Monday it started met to test on the pipeline, die has a capacity of 55 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas a year. It runs parallel to an existing Nord Stream pipeline, doubling capacity of the network. read more
Ministry of Economic Affairs of Germany also must wear out an assessment before the supervisor can send its recommendation to the European Commission. The executive branch of the European Union will then have two months to respond once it has received a submission.
The pipeline operator said: “Nord Stream 2 will continue to make all necessary efforts to ensure compliance with all apply rules and regulations.”
It also said it in appeal had gone against a German court in August decision die decided that the pipeline was not exempt from the EU rules where pipeline owners must be different from suppliers of the gas flowing through it. read more
Nord Stream 2 says this EU rules, die were changed in 2019, were aimed at torpedoing the project.
Analysts say Nord Stream 2 is unlikely to ease significantly sky-high gas prices die threaten high bills for European consumers this winter.
European benchmark Dutch wholesale gas for November were trading about 110 euros ($128) per megawatt hour (MWh) on Tuesday, up almost 500% since the start of the year.
($1 = 0.8621 euros)
Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff and Christoph Steitz; Additional reporting by Nina Chestney in London, Markus Wacket in Berlin and Oksana Kobzeva in Moscow; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Edmund Blair
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