The Russia-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline cannot start sending natural gas to Europe until it is certified by German authorities, which have suspended the certification process, according to Germany’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy.
“The certification has not yet been completed. Until this happens, Nord Stream 2 cannot be put into operation,” Russia’s TASS news agency quoted a spokeswoman for the ministry as saying on Monday.
In the middle of November, Germany said it had suspended the process of certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
The Federal Network Agency of Germany, Bundesnetzagentur, suspended the procedure to certify Nord Stream 2 AG as an independent transmission operator until an operator of the pipeline in Germany is incorporated under German law.
The agency, which had until January 8, 2022, to express an opinion on the operating license, dealt a blow to the pipeline and dashed hopes that it could start sending gas to Germany in time to save Europe from a gas crunch if this winter is colder than usual, analysts say.
If energy infrastructure operators wanted to use Nord Stream 2 before it is certified, they would face penalties, reports had suggested earlier, according to TASS.
The pipeline construction is completed, but Nord Stream 2 is awaiting full regulatory clearance from Germany and a potential review by the European Union over its compliance with EU energy regulations.
The suspension of the certification could push the commissioning of Nord Stream 2 into March 2022, German government sources told Reuters last month.
Some analysts and EU officials attribute the inconsistent Russian gas supply to Europe in recent weeks to Moscow using gas as leverage to get Nord Stream 2 approved.
Russia’s inconsistency in booking extra capacity on pipelines to Europe and the volatile supply over pipelines in recent weeks could continue for months, as it is likely linked to the Nord Stream 2 approval, Poland’s Climate and Environment Minister, Anna Moskwa, told Bloomberg in an interview last week.