Nord Stream 2: The second line of the pipeline is also being filled

Status: December 17, 2021 3:17 p.m.

Final preparations are under way for the controversial Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 2 to go into operation. The German side continues to brake, but according to Chancellor Scholz the decision should be “completely apolitical”.

The second line of the controversial Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline has been filled with gas since today. This was announced by the operating company Nord Stream 2 AG. This is used to build up the pressure required to transport gas through the tube.

Filling with so-called technical gas will “take about four weeks,” according to the pipeline company, which is supported by Russia’s energy company Gazprom. These preparations are the last step before commissioning.

Reference to the network agency

Germany, however, insists that commissioning is not yet possible. In January it will not be possible to sell Russian gas from the pipeline, said a spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of Economics. The prerequisite is approval, she said, referring to the Federal Network Agency.

Jochen Homann, President of the Federal Network Agency, had only said yesterday that a permit for gas transport was not to be expected in the first half of the coming year. The authority suspended the certification process for the time being in November. Certification only comes into question if the operating company is organized according to German law, it said. Nord Stream 2 AG, headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, wants to comply with this by founding a German subsidiary.

“Private Sector Project”

The more than 1,230 kilometer long Baltic Sea pipeline connects Russia with Germany. It was completed in September. According to the operator, filling the first line with gas was completed in October. Opponents of the project criticize the leadership as Russia’s geopolitical instrument of power. Several EU countries are calling on Germany to use the pipeline as leverage in the Ukraine conflict with Moscow.

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, on the other hand, described Nord Stream 2 as a “private-sector project” that would no longer be decided politically. There was only a partial question to be clarified before the commissioning, said the SPD politician on Friday morning after the end of the EU summit. According to EU law, the decision will be made “quite apolitically” by an authority in Germany.

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