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Nov 19, 2021
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Nord Stream 2 is more likely dead

Nord Stream 2 is more likely dead

Photo: dpa / picture-alliance / TASS

Encouraged by the decision of the German regulator on Nord Stream 2, Poland calls on Germany to stop the certification procedure altogether. It is curious that from the same Poland there are also proposals on how to achieve the launch of the gas pipeline.

Fellow at the Center for Oriental Studies in Warsaw Shimon Kardas drew attention to the fact that the updated EU Gas Directive applies only to the territorial waters of the EU member state, where the gas pipeline ends. Certification can be achieved, according to him, by dividing the gas pipeline into two parts. At the same time, most of the “Nord Stream-2” will be removed from the European legislation.

“There will be no need to take into account the rules that require, for example, to provide access to third parties,” he explained to Defense 24.

Previously a member of the Bundestag from the Left Party Klaus Ernst expressed his indignation at the delay in the certification procedure for a badly needed gas pipeline, which led to another round of price increases. At the same time, the procedural formality pointed out by the German regulator is apparently necessary in order to deprive the opponents of the gas pipeline of arguments about its non-compliance with the Third Package and to launch the project at full capacity.

– The very extension of European regulation to an offshore gas pipeline from a third country was absurd and politically motivated, therefore, the solution to this collision could be just as parodic, – he believes.Aleksey Grivach, Amdirector of the National Energy Security Fund (NESF).

– This option – legal division of the pipe – was considered initially. It’s just that now, as part of the certification process, the lawyers of the operator and the regulator, apparently, have come to an understanding of how it should look procedurally.

“SP”: – The decision of the German regulator, which, apparently, tried to suggest the optimal solution to Moscow, can in reality be beneficial to “Gazprom”?

– This is not a hint, but the fruit of joint work on the solution of an artificial problem from the “well-wishers” of the project.

“SP”: – The US will soon adopt a military budget, which provides for even tougher sanctions against the Russian gas pipeline. Is it likely that the project will be stopped as a result?

– I don’t think that sanctions can stop the project. They will only increase tensions in relations with Europe. And they will show that the US is quite happy with the energy crisis in Europe with abnormal prices.

Dean of the Faculty of International Energy Business of the Russian State University of Oil and Gas THEM. Gubkina Elena Telegina believes that it is now profitable for Gazprom to do everything to certify Nord Stream-2 as soon as possible.

– Probably, for some reason, the legal aspects of registration in Switzerland were chosen, but it seems to me that in order to be registered as soon as possible, Nord Stream 2 will have to be registered in Germany. This is usually related to tax purposes, because different tax systems in countries allow companies to choose more comfortable conditions.

“SP”: – Will it be more profitable for “Gazprom” in Germany?

– I do not think. The German taxation system is quite tough. And the gas pipeline occupancy is a matter of the market, not the registration of the headquarters. If there is demand, it will be filled.

“SP”: – But now the problem is precisely with the occupancy of the site in the territorial waters of Germany?

– I think everything will be corrected when the official launch takes place. Then they will look at prices, volume, who participates in this pipe. Everything will be decided gradually.

In fact, the Germans are offering the operator to “change the registration”, said Deputy General Director of the Institute of National Energy Alexander Frolov.

– The issue of the possibility of loading the last 20 km of this gas pipeline is now connected with Nord Stream 2. Not only is the pipeline being certified as such, but also the issue of the status of its final section passing through the territorial waters of Germany is being resolved, and, accordingly, the possibility of 100% loading of this section. That is, 1200 km can be loaded at 100%, but the last 20 – only by 50. This is in case the certification goes on an unfavorable path.

To simplify the passage of the favorable scenario, in order to recognize the possibility of 100% loading of the last section of the gas pipeline, it is necessary that there be an independent operator of this last “tail”, which may become a subsidiary of Nord Stream 2 AG, registered in Germany. This is the harsh reality. When bureaucrats are scolded in our country, look at what is happening in Europe.

It is difficult to say how successful the attempt will be to resolve the issue, but, apparently, this measure is necessary in order to make possible a favorable resolution of the certification process.

“SP”: – We spent so much time. Why didn’t the regulator initially say about possible problems?

– Nord Stream 2 AG has submitted documents for its designation as an independent gas pipeline operator. As far as I understand, the request was denied. Apparently, this is the next step to be taken. This is a kind of bureaucratic game of classics, on which you have to jump and not stumble.

“SP”: – New US sanctions, plus participation in the certification of Poland and Ukraine, as well as pressure from the “green” will not lead to a halt to the project?

– What the United States takes is a flag in their hands. As the experience of 2021 has shown, they cannot do anything, even by tightening the rules for imposing sanctions on gas pipelines running from Russia to the coast of Germany and Turkey, as spelled out in these “wonderful” laws. The European Energy Security Act, which is part of the US defense budget, proved to be somewhat powerless, which Joe Biden actually admitted this summer, saying that they were abandoning tougher sanctions because, at least at that stage, it would lead to aggravation of the trade confrontation between Europe and the United States. Why does the United States need this, given that they are trying to achieve the exact opposite effect? That is, expanding its influence on Europe, limiting the influence of China, first of all, and, secondly, of the Russian Federation. In this story, Nord Stream 2 is just an episode.

“SP”: – The political situation is tense. When, given the current situation, is it realistic to launch the gas pipeline and are there any chances to speed up the procedure?

– Either the end of this year, or the first quarter of the next. Technically, the gas pipeline is ready. Emergency deliveries can be started if required.

Remember how the Ukrainian GTS operator was certified. Such an “oil trail” was behind the documents, which flew through all levels – as quickly as possible. When necessary, the bureaucratic mechanism is lubricated to make it work more efficiently. If necessary, everything can be done quite quickly.

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