Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline may be launched before the Federal Network Agency of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesnetzagentur) completes the certification process. Such precedents have already taken place, according to the Handelsblatt newspaper.

The media outlet recalled that the NEL and EGL 401 gas pipelines had been put into operation without the Bundesnetzagentur certification.

If launched without certification, the company faces a one-time fine of up to €1 million. At the same time, investments in the construction of the new Russian gas pipeline amounted to at least €10 billion.

“Given high gas prices, it is profitable for the operator to launch the pipeline quickly, especially since this will save Gazprom transit fees for passing gas through Ukraine,” the report reads.

The Federal Network Agency told the newspaper that the NEL, EGL 401 and Nord Stream 2 have nothing in common.

As a reminder, the Bundesnetzagentur earlier announced the temporary suspension of the Nord Stream 2 certification procedure until the completion of the establishment of a Swiss subsidiary Nord Stream 2 AG for the operation of the national section of the pipeline and the transfer of key assets and human resources to it.

On 15 November, it became known that the German regulator had decided to allow Naftogaz of Ukraine and the Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine to the certification procedure of the Russian gas pipeline. The Ukrainian side is ready to provide its arguments as to why Nord Stream AG cannot be certified without its full compliance with European energy legislation.

Some European media outlets noted that the launch of Nord Stream 2 could be delayed until May 2022 if regulators use all possible time to approve the project.

The U.S. Department of State recently announced the imposition of sanctions against the Cyprus-registered company Transadria and the Marlin vessel, which was used in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

At the same time, despite calls from U.S. lawmakers, Joe Biden’s administration refuses to impose sanctions against Nord Stream 2, citing the need to maintain good relations with Germany, which was interested in launching the pipeline.

Bohdan Marusyak

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