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Germany Nord Stream 2 pipeline decision

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Germany Nord Stream 2 pipeline decision

Germany releases decision on Nord Stream 2
Germany Nord Stream 2 pipeline decision – Photo: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

German regulator The Federal Network Agency will publish a decision today on whether to unsuspend the beleaguered Germany Nord Stream 2 pipeline certification process.

The $11 billion natural gas pipeline links Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea and effectively doubles the existing capacity of undersea routes from Russian gas fields to Europe. The route also bypasses existing pipelines through Ukraine, giving Russia an alternative for reaching Western European customers and leading to fears that Russia may use Nord Stream 2 as a political weapon in future disputes.

The pipeline’s natural gas provides one solution to alleviate Europe’s current energy supply crisis. However, increased Russian gas sales would give President Vladimir Putin heightened leverage over European leaders who have previously targeted him and Gazprom executives with sanctions. Nord Stream 2 itself was subject to US sanctions until May 2021.

Expect the Federal Network Agency to unsuspend Nord Stream 2’s certification process. Although Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government is less Russia-friendly than that of his predecessor Angela Merkel, Moscow will likely view any further delays as politically motivated and offensive. Germany is unlikely to intentionally antagonize Russia, especially as European leaders confront the brewing crisis on the Russia-Ukraine border.

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