Certification of Nord Stream 2 pipeline suspended over legal details
Clean Energy Wire
Germany’s Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) has “provisionally suspended” the certification procedure of the new natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, it announced on 16 November. The application by the Swiss Nord Stream 2 AG operator was halted after BNetzA concluded that only a pipeline operator organised as an entity under German law could be considered for approval. The Nord Stream 2 AG will now establish a subsidiary under German law solely to govern the German part of the pipeline. This subsidiary will become the owner of the German section of Nord Stream 2 and operate it, the BNetzA said. Once established, the subsidiary can apply for the operating permit. The current certification procedure will remain suspended until the main assets and human resources have been transferred to the subsidiary. Once the necessary documents are submitted, the network agency can continue its work on the permission decision within the remainder of the legally prescribed four-month period. Its draft decision will go to the European Commission for another check.
The announcement by the BNetzA has sent natural gas prices in Europe to a three-week high on concerns that the pipeline might face further delay, reported Bloomberg. The German-Russian gas pipeline has been completed but has not been put into operation in part because the BNetzA has yet to assess compliance with energy company laws. EU rules require the companies that produce, transport and distribute gas within the bloc to be separate, or "unbundled."