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Germany’s energy regulator says Nord Stream 2 won’t be online in first half of 2022

17 December 2021

Germany’s energy regulator, Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA), has said that its decision on certifying the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline won’t be made before July 2022. The certification process for the pipeline was stopped in November after BNetzA told the Swiss-based operator – whose majority owner is Russia’s Gazprom – to set up a German subisidiary in order to comply with European law.

Landfall facilities in Germany - Image: © Nord Stream 2 / Axel Schmidt
Landfall facilities in Germany - Image: © Nord Stream 2 / Axel Schmidt

The controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was built to carry natural gas from Russia directly to Germany, has been heavily criticised with some calling it could be used as a geopolitical weapon by Russia. After the pipeline’s construction was completed in September 2021, Russia’s Foreign Ministry and state-owned Gazprom said that they expected certification to take around four months.

However, on December 16, BNetzA’s President Jochen Homann told a news conference that the regulator’s decision on fully certifying Nord Stream 2 would not come in the first half of 2022. Homann said that Nord Stream 2’s operating company had begun the process of setting up a German subsidiary, however BNetzA’s review period for the certification process would not resume until the moment the subsidiary has delivered the necessary documents.

Nord Stream 2 has said it is moving ahead with setting up the subsidiary, although it said in a statement that it was not in a position to comment on the details of the procedure, its possible duration, or its impact on the starting date of the pipeline’s operations.

Once BNetzA has made a decision on certifying the pipeline, the European Union will then take two months to review it. This review period can be extended by another two months if the EU requires more time.

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