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Berlin assures Kyiv that Nord Stream 2 not to be put into commercial operation without certification – Zerkal

KYIV. Sept 14 (Interfax-Ukraine) – State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy of Germany Andreas Feicht has assured that Nord Stream 2 (NS2) will not be put into commercial operation until the certification is completed, advisor to the Minister of Energy of Ukraine Lana Zerkal has said.

"He [Feicht] assured that Nord Stream 2 will not be launched into commercial operation until the certification is completed," she wrote on her Facebook page following the visit of the State Secretary to Kyiv.

Zerkal recalled that the German regulator BNetzA, starting from September 8, has four months to consider Nord Stream-2 AG’s application for certification of the company as an independent operator of NS2. Then BNetzA will submit the report to the European Commission, which has two months for its own conclusion and another two months if necessary. The commencement of NS2 operation without permits will result in the imposition of sanctions against it.

"Actually, there is one more ‘technical’ issue. By the time the gas is physically launched through the pipe, this pipe must receive a safety certificate from an independent international certifier. Nord Stream-2 AG refuses to comment on which certification company will serve NS2 and whether this company is involved in the interim verification process. Duration of this stage is from one month to one year," Zerkal said.

Earlier, CEO of NJSC Naftogaz Ukrainy Yuriy Vitrenko said that during Feicht’s visit, Ukraine would like to hear how Germany intends to implement plans to arrange negotiations in Berlin or Brussels with European companies and, possibly, Gazprom on guarantees of transit through Ukraine after 2024.

As reported, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden imposed sanctions against several companies that supported Nord Stream 2, but not against the operator of this project itself. The U.S. leadership believed that the imposition of sanctions against Nord Stream-2 AG would worsen the relations of the United States with its key ally Germany, but would not stop the project.

In the summer of 2021, the United States and Germany agreed on a common position on the Nord Stream 2 topic. In particular, Berlin undertakes to take action if the Russian Federation uses energy supplies to put pressure on other countries. Gazprom called the joint statement of Joe Biden and Angela Merkel on NS2 declarative, which by its nature is not a legally binding document.

In early September, Gazprom announced that the offshore section of the second line of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was technically completed. Nevertheless, a number of bureaucratic barriers remain, which the company will have to overcome before the pipeline is launched.

The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, with a capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year, runs from the Slavyanskaya compressor station in the Kingisepp district of the Leningrad region to the Baltic coast of Germany. Last week, Gazprom announced the completion of its construction and its intention to launch it by the end of this year.