German agency suspends Russian pipeline approval process

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Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country could quickly increase natural gas supplies to the European Union once German regulators allow the new pipeline to go into operation. Energy prices have soared in Europe, which imports much of its natural gas from Russia, and caused hardship for businesses and households.

It was not immediately clear to what extent the decision of the German network regulator, the Bundesnetzagentur, to suspend the procedure for certification of Nord Stream 2 AG as an independent transmission operator could delay these plans. The step is necessary before the gas can flow legally.

“After a thorough review of the documentation, the Bundesnetzagentur concluded that it would only be possible to certify an operator of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline if this operator was organized in a legal form under German law,” the regulator said in a statement. a statement.

The operating company is based in Zug, Switzerland, and “has decided not to transform its existing legal form but to found a subsidiary under German law only to manage the German part of the pipeline”, he added. This will become the owner and operator of the German section of the pipeline.

The agency said certification will remain on hold “until key assets and human resources have been transferred to the subsidiary” and it can verify that the documentation is complete.

Owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom with investments from several European companies, Nord Stream 2 was built under the Baltic Sea and bypasses Poland and Ukraine, drawing objections from those countries.

The United States has strongly opposed construction of Nord Stream 2, but reached an agreement with Germany in July to allow the pipeline to be completed without imposing US sanctions on German entities.

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