Europe ’ s gas market is nervously awaiting signs of a potential start of Russia ’ s physically completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany . Its launch could help alleviate Europe ’ s depleted inventories and pull gas prices back from levels around six times where they stood at the end of 2020 .
Poland , Ukraine and the US continue to object to the connection . The only obstacle to its start is certification of compliance with EU competition law . Germany ’ s federal network regulator recently suspended its review until the operator submits an application from a German-registered company . So what can we expect from a new German administration – with Greens in control of energy policy – that sympathises with critics of Nord Stream 2 more than its predecessor ? Montel asked Katja Yafimava , research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies .
How do you see the new German government affecting the certification process for Nord Stream 2 ?
I think the BNA [ the federal network regulator ] will lift suspension once the German subsidiary is established and will issue a draft decision within six weeks after that . The economy ministry has already provided its assessment on the impact of NS2 [ Nord Stream 2 ] certification on the security of energy supplies of Germany and the EU , and this assessment – which is an integral part of the BNA ’ s draft certification decision – is positive . In my view , it is highly unlikely that the economy ministry ’ s procedure will be reopened , and its assessment revised . But it is likely that there will be more cooperation between the European Commission , Germany and other parties at the stage of the EC issuing its opinion on draft certification and some conditions could be attached to it , which the BNA may decide to accept as part of its final certification decision .