Nov 17, 2021
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“Ukrainian pig” launched into the garden of “Gazprom”

"Ukrainian pig" launched into the garden of "Gazprom"

Photo: Maxim Nikitin / TASS

Ukrainian “Naftogaz” will officially take part in the certification procedure for the operator of the Russian gas pipeline “Nord Stream-2”. This was announced by the head of the Ukrainian company Yuri Vitrenko on your Facebook page. In addition to this, another Ukrka company “Operator of GTS of Ukraine” (OGTSU) was admitted to the certification procedure, said its head Sergey Makogon.

Vitrenko said that Naftogaz will present the German regulator with a legal position on the impossibility of certification of the gas pipeline “without its full compliance with European and international legislation.”

“The dominant position of Gazprom during the launch of Nord Stream 2, contrary to the requirements of European legislation, poses a threat to competition in the markets of Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Austria and other European countries, and the regulator must take this influence into account,” Vitrenko said.

He also recalled that European legislation requires that the pipeline operator be completely separated and independent from Gazprom, as well as that third parties have access to the pipeline along its entire length from the start to the end point. Although there can be no third parties on this route from Russia to Germany.

The requirement for the independence of the Nord Stream 2 operator has already led to the suspension of its certification by the German authorities. German regulator, Federal Network Agency (BNetzA, – ed.) suspended the process until a subsidiary company is created, which will manage the German part of the pipeline.

“The Federal Grid Agency has come to the conclusion that certification of the Nord Stream 2 operator is possible only if the operator brings its legal form in accordance with German law,” the German regulator said.

BNetzA also confirmed that Ukrainian companies were admitted to the certification procedure, but clarified that they have procedural rights, but not the veto.

In turn, Makogon said that OGTSU has strong technical and political arguments, “which should put an end to Russian speculations in the European gas market.”

It can be assumed that Ukraine’s participation will complicate the certification process for Nord Stream 2, which could presumably drag on until at least January 8, 2022. In early November, Bloomberg reported that this process could last until May 8, as the German regulator should make only a preliminary decision, after which it will be sent for consideration to the European Commission.

Igor Yushkov, leading analyst of the National Energy Security Fund, expert of the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation believes that the participation of Ukrainian and Polish companies in the certification process may not slow down the process, but their subsequent complaints are quite capable of doing this.

– I doubt that the participation of Ukrainian companies will greatly complicate the certification. We saw that Poland was admitted to the process, but at the same time the German regulator actually indicated that their company would be an observer without the right to vote. They are allowed to receive information about certification, but not to take decisive actions. They will not vote or influence decision-making by the regulator.

In fact, the status of Ukrainian and Polish companies does not change much. They would have announced a decision on Nord Stream 2 anyway. And if this decision is positive for Gazprom and allows it to admit its subsidiary as an operator, the Polish state-owned company will, in any case, file protests and sue. Regardless of whether she participates in certification or not.

The task of Polish and Ukrainian companies is not to find out the truth and establish whether the gas pipeline meets all the requirements of the European Union, for which the certification process is needed, but initially to prove that everything is bad and Nord Stream 2 should not work. They go into the certification process to undermine it and abuse their authority and status.

There is no point in admitting them to certification. Apparently, the European Commission is reinsuring itself, no matter what happens, so that later they will not begin to declare that the procedure is not valid without them. Better to let them in, and let them sit and watch what happens. I don’t think they can influence the decision.

SP: Taking into account this interference, will it be possible to certify Nord Stream 2 at least by January, as promised?

– I think this process is unlikely to be dragged out in principle precisely because of the participation of Poland and Ukraine in certification. But they can lengthen these terms, filing all kinds of protests to European authorities and courts, if the decision of the German regulator is in favor of Gazprom.

By the way, according to European laws, Nord Stream AG can be appointed as the operator of Nord Stream 2, this is not prohibited. Usually these norms are interpreted in such a way that the operating company and the supplier company cannot be affiliated. But in reality, this is not how it works.

If the supplier proves that the operator will not “play along” with him, the structure associated with him can perform this function. Gazprom is now putting pressure on this, and during the certification process the question is being considered whether our company has correctly drawn up everything in order to be admitted.

Alexey Korenev, leading analyst of FG “Finam” believes that as soon as the frosts hit harder, the Europeans themselves will begin to put pressure on Ukraine so that it does not interfere with the certification process.

– Ukrainian companies will do their best to make the certification as difficult and long as possible. But the important point is that Ukraine can be influenced by Europeans, who will begin to freeze.

Initially, it was assumed that the certification of Nord Stream 2 would be completed no later than January 8th. Now we are talking about May. It turns out that the gas pipeline will be certified throughout the winter.

Ukrainian politicians are constantly putting a spoke in the wheel of this project and will delay the certification process as much as possible. But then everything will depend solely on the position of Germany and Austria, which in this regard are completely on the side of Russia. They need gas, without it they freeze and now pay crazy money for it. Yesterday the price again approached a thousand dollars per thousand cubic meters and, naturally, they do not like it.

Therefore, most likely, Ukrainians will find fault with every letter and not agree on certification for as long as possible. But on the other hand, if the winter turns out to be cold, Ukraine’s European partners will put pressure on it to stop quibbling over trifles and approve at least basic things.

“SP”: – When will it be possible to complete the certification process?

– It is hard to say. As soon as the frost hits, the Europeans will begin to stir and run quickly. While warm, they move slowly. But their entire energy agenda has collapsed because of the energy crisis. For so long they built windmills, solar panels, listened Greta Thunberg, which does not even fly by plane, but moves on a yacht, accompanied by 50 helicopters.

And now they are forced to reactivate the old coal mines, which were once closed for environmental and economic reasons, and start actively burning coal, which does not fit into any gate in terms of environmental protection. Gas is much cleaner than coal.

But we see that the environmental agenda has already gone downhill, no one says that coal poisons the atmosphere. France is returning to nuclear energy, Japan is also launching nuclear power plants that were closed after the Fukushima accident. Turkey has ordered two new nuclear power plants from Russia. In general, everyone abruptly forgot the “green” agenda, just not to freeze. “Santa Claus” turned out to be stronger. I think this will also affect the certification process for Nord Stream 2.

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