20.06.2021

Nord Stream 2 will have to yield half the pipe

Germany, Russia’s main ally in the construction of the new Nord Stream-2 gas export pipeline (SP-2), split into two opposition factions. The federal government is convinced of the need to complete a project that will strengthen the energy security of all European countries, and the German Federal Grid Agency, relying on the antitrust laws of the EU’s Third Energy Package, claims that Russia will only be able to fill a new pipe that is wholly owned by Gazprom .

The remaining 50% will have to be provided to third parties capable of providing the pipeline with alternative raw materials. True, Russia does not have competitors for deliveries to SP-2. This route was planned in advance for the export of “blue fuel” exclusively from Russian fields. Nevertheless, a number of European experts predict a serious intra-European conflict over the prospects for the Russian gas pipeline.

From a technical point of view, only a few months are left to complete the construction of the SP-2 marine branch. The Akademik Chersky pipe-laying vessel, the only Russian vessel capable of reaching the underwater part of the pipeline to its destination, after several months of wandering through foreign waters, entered the Baltic Sea, where it is expected to be able to begin its direct operations from day to day.

However, the process of completing the construction of SP-2 continues to slow down. On the one hand, loud political statements by opponents of the project do not cease. So, the famous Polish politician Kamil Zayonchkovsky said that the completion of the construction of Nord Stream 2 would mean, no less, undermining the EU in coordinating a common point of view in the energy aspect, which would confirm the fragility of the European Union’s internal policy. At the same time, the German Federal Grid Agency relies solely on legal norms: it intends to prohibit Gazprom from completely filling the new pipeline complex.

Based on the legislative articles of the Third EU Energy Package and the requirements of the updated EU gas directive, the German regulator allows the Russian monopoly to use only 50% of the pipeline’s capacity. The rest will have to be given to third-party suppliers of “blue fuel” not involved in the construction of a new pipeline route. An appropriate formal decision should be made as soon as possible. And even the official position of the German government, openly supporting the project, is unlikely to “convince” the energy regulator.

“The German government is well aware that cooperation with Russia in the field of energy supplies is one of the future advantages of the economies of both countries. Therefore, a refusal or an obstacle to the completion of the construction of SP-2 will clearly not be in the hands of Berlin: a number of German companies have invested large amounts in this project, which they intend to increase in the future, ”says Alexey Grivach, deputy director of the National Energy Security Fund. – Regulation of the use of SP-2, after the completion of its construction, will most likely be challenged and corrected more than once.

Germany cannot free the project from the sanctions of the Third Energy Package. A tug of war is currently underway. Half of the project was funded by foreign, including German, companies. It is impossible to stop the construction of the gas pipeline, but its future operation, apparently, will be slowed down. ”

“Nord Stream – 2” is sure to be completed. The question remains how it will be used in the future. Most likely, the vacated 50% of the pipeline capacity will have to hold auctions, where any supplier of “blue fuel” will be able to declare their own fuel volumes. Although such guaranteed supplies can be provided only by Gazprom. For this, it will be necessary to form a new company – an operator supplying Russian gas to Europe. This will be the most inconvenient option for Russia, but such a scenario will allow our country to get rid of prosecution in European courts and maintain an advantage in the energy market of the Old World, ”said Sergei Pravosudov, director of the National Energy Institute.

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