NS2 owner applies for EU certificate

The owner of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2 AG company, submitted a complete set of documents necessary to consider the application for certification as an operator. This is the last - already formal - stage of the investment needed to launch Nord Stream 2, the gas pipeline that is of concern to some EU countries.

The four month deadline for obtaining the permit runs from September 8.

In August, applications for admission to this procedure were submitted by the Polish PGNiG in whose opinion the certification of Nord Stream 2 AG as an independent transmission system operator would be inconsistent with EU law, which only allows such a model for transmission systems existing before May 23, 2019.

On September 10, Gazprom announced that the construction of Nord Stream 2 has been fully completed. The Russians say that the gas pipeline could be launched as early as October. However, due to approval procedures, this seems unrealistic.

According to European law, the German regulator BNetzA has four months to draft a decision about the pipeline, which will then be submitted to the European Commission.

PGNiG and its German subsidiary PST are against Nord Stream 2 getting an operating license. One argument they use is that the EU gas directive does not apply to operator companies based outside the EU - and Nord Stream AG 2 is registered in Switzerland rather than in the bloc itself.

The Polish company also noted that an impact assessment on the security of supply is needed for Swiss-based companies. Officially, the company’s lawyers say, the EU regulators ought to refuse certification if there is a security threat to the energy supply of a Member State .

When Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Warsaw at the weekend, she tried to reassure Poles that gas would still be transported via Ukraine and Poland after approval of the pipeline. Prime Minister Morawiecki retaining the existing route will lower the chance of “blackmail” from Russia.

Nord Stream 2 is a two-pipe gas pipeline that can transport approximately 55 billion cubic metres of gas annually from Russia along the bottom of the Baltic Sea. The investment was dictated by political considerations to bypass Ukraine’s gas transmission system. For this reason, it is highly controversial, as it could become a tool of economic pressure against Central-Eastern Europe.