Brussels (Brussels Morning) Russia has called on Germany and the EU to approve the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline for operation.
The Kremlin demanded that the bloc and its largest member should not drag the pipeline project into the dispute between Moscow and the West, Reuters reported on Monday.
The completed natural gas pipeline would roughly double Russia’s gas export capability under the Baltic Sea, bringing it to some 110 billion cubic meters annually and bypassing Ukraine.
The project, headed by Russian energy giant Gazprom and supported by large European energy companies, has come under consistent criticism from the US, Ukraine, and Poland since the planning stages.
Now completed, the pipeline needs regulatory approval, which at the earliest is expected in the course of the first half of this year.
Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a statement maintaining that “the certification procedure by Germany’s regulators and the European Commission should not be artificially protracted and politicised.”
Certification must be conducted “in strict compliance with the current norms”, it said.
Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, is to meet with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock today as part of her visit to Russia. The two will likely discuss Nord Stream 2 and tensions over Ukraine.
Non-compliance with EU rules
Baerbock pointed out on Monday that Nord Stream 2 was on hold because it does not comply with EU energy rules.
The same day, Gazprom noted that it had not booked any capacity through the Yamal-Europe pipeline in February while observing that its gas pipeline exports had dropped 41% annually in January thus far.
According to a source close to Gazprom, the company plans to resume gas exports to Europe through the Yamal-Europe pipeline this month. Usually, the pipeline accounts for approximately one-sixth of Russia’s yearly gas export to Europe and Turkey.
Auction results confirm that Gazprom did not book any Yamal-Europe pipeline capacity for February. Gas has been flowing through the pipeline from Germany to Poland since
Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Alexander Novak, reiterated on Saturday that Moscow was prepared to sell more natural gas to Europe but only through new long-term contracts.