the long-Suffering Russian gas pipeline “Nord stream-2” (SP-2), which, for various reasons, “Gazprom” can not build, is likely to remain unfinished forever. If you believe the German newspaper Handelsblatt, the Federal network Agency of Germany (BNA) plans to reject the application for the exemption of construction of pipeline project SP-2 from the requirements of the EU Gas Directive. Earlier, the Russian gas monopoly has repeatedly made it clear that he is not going to work in line with European energy legislation. If the difference in the approaches of the German and Russian sides will fail to overcome, the situation will be deadlocked for the project.
In regard to SP-2 – an ambitious project of “Gazprom” which cost 10 billion euros, designed to deliver Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic sea for further distribution to European consumers, and blocked by U.S. sanctions, there are two news: good and bad.
Good is that floating laying vessel “Akademik Chersky” – the only Russian ship that is capable (subject to the retrofit kit) to finish the project, entered the exclusive economic zone of Denmark in the Baltic sea, the bottom of which is unfinished pipeline. As wrote earlier “MK”, the pipe is in the way for almost three months, and has repeatedly changed during this time route. According to some experts, to circumvent the earlier US sanctions against companies involved in the implementation of the “SP-2”. We will remind, the Swiss company Allseas, is engaged in the laying of the pipeline, almost immediately after the announcement of sanctions, notified of suspension of work.
But this is good news pales against the backdrop of bad. If you believe the German media, may 1, the Federal network Agency of Germany has decided to refuse the company 2 the Nord Stream AG (the operator SP-2) removal of project from the requirements of the updated EU Gas Directive. In other words, the German energy market regulator ruled that “Nord stream-2” must comply with European competition rules. Chief among them: supplier of gas -“Gazprom” – may not simultaneously be the owner of the pipe.
“In practice, this means that even if the pipeline will be completed by the end of 2020, half of its capacity is 27.5 billion cubic meters a year from 55 billion, the Russian gas monopoly will have to pay independent providers. “Gazprom” was never agree with it and I am sure will never agree,” – said “MK” partner RusEnergy Michael Krutikhin.
As experts explain, to comply with European energy package Gazprom is not able: only its gas fields connected to SP-2. So, the pipe will remain half empty, which threatens to make the expensive project in principle unprofitable. Actually, if to remember history of creation “WithP-2”, it becomes clear: it was initially built based on the “loopholes” in the European legislation: the requirements of the gas Directive did not apply to marine pipelines. The European Commission in 2017 proposed to eliminate this loophole, but the adoption of amendments more than a year blocked in Germany. However, in April of 2019, the European Parliament overwhelmingly approved changes in the legislation and spread the Gas Directive on marine pipelines coming from third countries.
In early January 2020 Nord Stream 2 has applied for exemption of the project from the requirements of the Gas Directive. The company referred to the fact that the project should be completed in may 2019 – that is, until the moment that the amendments took effect. The operator offered under the “conclusion” to understand the end of the investment rather than physical completion.
But, as we now know, the Federal network Agency of Germany has rejected such an interpretation. “The”Nord stream-2″ in light of the pending implementation does not fulfill the conditions of the Law on the power sector of Germany to be exempt from the rules,” said the controller.
Why has Germany always used to support the construction of the SP-2 is now ready to bury the project? “The German government, including Angela Merkel, who many times performed for SP-2, it is possible to understand, – explains Krutikhin, Germany “for free” has a powerful pipeline and the position of the European hub, very beneficial from a political and from an economic point of view. But the Germans are meticulous: now the law was passed, and it should run.”
does this Mean the final verdict for SP-2? Yet, experts point out. The final decision on this issue in Germany will take after the consultation, scheduled for 8 may. Recall the construction of the “Nord stream-2” was stopped at the end of December 2019 after the imposition of U.S. sanctions. At that time lay on the bottom of the Baltic sea was less than 200 km of pipe. Russian President Vladimir Putin after talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel on 11 January 2020 said that the project will be completed and running no later than the first quarter. But intervened pandemic coronavirus.
Now the participants in the process expect that Nord Stream 2 will appeal to the Higher regional court of düsseldorf, and he may redirect the question to the European court as the highest court in the EU. The chances of a successful trial small: officials in Brussels have repeatedly stated the need to diversify gas supplies and reduce dependence on Moscow.
besides probably Russia, for which SP-2 – draft exceptional political importance, will not silently wait for the decision of the European court, and intensifying diplomatic activity, it is possible that with a personal Uchesteem of President Putin.
in the meantime, the court case, says Igor Yushkov, a leading analyst of the national energy security Fund, laying vessel “Akademik Chersky” may complete the construction of the offshore section of the pipeline, putting the German and European authorities with a fait accompli.