It was supposed to start operating at the end of 2019, but the US imposed sanctions. The deadline was moved by a year – to the end of 2020. But then came the pandemic and the new EU gas directive, so Nord Stream 2’s start-up was delayed for another year.
Now it is the end of 2021 and the certificate is needed. When will it be ready? In March or perhaps May 2022. If at all.
The biggest supporters of the Russian gas pipeline are already losing faith in its rapid start-up. Nord Stream-2 will possibly start operating in April-May next year, but the European Commission will try to delay the operator’s certification process, most likely with the aid of environmental organisations, according to Steffen Kotre, MP of the nationalist Alternative for Germany in a statement for RIA Novosti agency.
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Kotre was a member of the Bundestag’s economics and energy committee in the previous term. He added that the outgoing German government, led by Angela Merkel, “missed an opportunity to take the project under its protection, to effectively oppose anyone trying to stop it.” By that he meant German Greens, the European Commission and the United States.
The German left was also quick to apportion blame for the delay in the launch of the Russian gas pipeline. “The Greens still want to thwart Nord Stream 2. I don’t understand this approach on their part. It will hurt German gas consumers and also Europe’s energy supply,” said German Bundestag member Klaus Ernst (“Left”), former head of the economics and energy committee. According to Klaus, “the mere announcement of a further delay in the certification of Nord Stream 2 has led to an increase in gas prices on short-term contract markets.”
The Soyuz 90/Green Party had previously announced that the suspension of Nord Stream 2 certification could lead to a gas pipeline’s start-up being postponed until spring or put on hold indefinitely. The Green Party in Germany has traditionally opposed the Nord Stream 2 project. The party is currently negotiating the formation of a new German government, and their current attitude towards the Russian gas pipeline could be a way to muster up support for a coalition.
The possibility of an early launch of Nord Stream 2 was also commented on by a Kremlin spokesman:
“I don’t think it is possible to stop the project now. However, the Federal Network Agency will probably try to slow down the certification process, just as European Commission will. Therefore, the gas pipeline will start operating perhaps in April or May,” Dmitry Peskov said.