Germany seeks competition assurances over Nord Stream 2 pipeline

Germany seeks competition assurances over Nord Stream 2 pipeline

Germany's energy regulator said the Nord Stream 2 pipeline must show it would not break competition rules by limiting which suppliers used it and could face a fine if it started pumping Russian gas to Germany without securing necessary approvals.

German regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) said late on Monday it had asked the pipeline operator, Switzerland-based Nord Stream 2 AG, to show it was meeting all necessary regulatory requirements before the pipeline entered service.

"This relates in particular to issues of non-discriminatory network access and the integration of the interconnector into the German market area," it said, a reference to rules that include ensuring the operator did not restrict access for other gas suppliers.

BNetzA, which said in September it had four months to complete certification, said it could not rule out that Nord Stream 2 operations could start soon. But it warned the operator that it could face a fine if it started up before necessary certification was secured. read more

Nord Stream 2 said on Monday it had started tests on the pipeline, which has capacity to pump 55 billion cubic metres of gas a year. It runs parallel to an existing Nord Stream pipeline, doubling capacity of the network. read more

Germany's Economy Ministry also has to carry out an assessment before the regulator can send its recommendation to the European Commission. The European Union executive then has two months to respond once is receives a submission.

The pipeline operator said: "Nord Stream 2 will continue to undertake all necessary efforts to ensure compliance with all applicable rules and regulations."

It also said it had appealed against an August German court decision that ruled the pipeline was not exempt from EU rules requiring pipeline owners to be different from suppliers of the gas flowing through them. read more

Nord Stream 2 says these EU rules, which were amended in 2019, were aimed at torpedoing the project, Reuters reported.

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