Tue, 30 Nov 2021

LONDON, England: Gas prices, already high, soared a further 17 percent in the UK after approval was suspended to begin operating the €10bn Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

The decision could delay the project by several months.

"It would only be possible to certify an operator of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline if that operator was organised in a legal form under German law," the German regulator announced.

While the UK does not directly import significant amounts of gas from Russia, it receives large amounts from Europe which purchases some 40 percent of its supplies from Russia.

Energy prices in Britain rose further after a fire damaged a submerged power cable with France, reducing the flow of electricity from the continent in September.

The high prices of energy in the UK has resulted in the collapse of 20 small energy suppliers since September.

Additionally, Sam Peek of Cornwall Insight said that energy prices could continue rising into next week in the UK if there is cold weather and periods of low wind, as reported by The Express.

Once Nord Stream 2 receives German approval, it will still require further permission from the European Commission.

The German regulator said its approval procedure would remain suspended until "the main assets and human resources" had been transferred from the Swiss-based Nord Stream 2 parent company to its German subsidiary, which owns and operates the German section of the pipeline.

German businesses have invested heavily in the 760-mile pipeline, with former Chancellor Gerhard Schrder playing a key role in its development.

Running under the Baltic Sea, Nord Stream 2 will double Moscow's gas exports to Germany, but will also evade Ukraine, which relies on existing pipelines for income and would be severely affected by the loss of transit fees.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has described Nord Stream 2 as a "dangerous geopolitical weapon."

Commenting on the impact to Ukraine if the new pipeline cuts off transit funding, the Prime Minister's spokesman said, "Ukraine currently hosts the largest existing pipeline for Russian gas, and transit fees have historically made up a large proportion of their GDP, so Nord Stream 2 would divert supplies from the Ukraine that would have significant consequences for its economy."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said that further sanctions might be imposed on Russia if it used the pipeline as a weapon against Ukraine.

The German regulator's decision has been welcomed by Ukrainian energy firm Naftogaz, while Polish gas company PGNiG responded with a call for energy cooperation in the EU to ensure the security of supplies.

The Nord Stream 2 consortium has declined to comment on possible delays to gas exports.

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