In this interview with Cyba Audi from Asharq Business Bloomberg, Christof Rühl, member of the Advisory Board of Crystol Energy and a Senior Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, comments on the German suspension of the Nord Stream II gas pipeline.
The certification suspension of Nord Stream II is a simple step and comes in the context of bureaucracy in the German judiciary system. In the EU, in general, and Germany in particular, the ownership of the pipeline is held by all stakeholders and should be differentiated from the ownership of gas. The current issue roams around a short section of the pipeline and needs regulatory amendments to then be held by an independent German company.
One can read this in two ways. It could be either the bureaucratic way of how things are done in Germany, or the Germans sending a message to the recent refugee crisis between the EU and Belarus (and Russia from behind). The Kremlin would likely buy into the second option.
Christof adds that Russia needs to sell gas to Europe and the Europeans want to buy Russian gas whether it is through Ukraine or any other reasonable way as long as the supplier and consumer agree to do so. Thus, Ukraine doesn’t have the veto to suspend such projects.
Christof concludes that the US was historically resisting the establishment of Nord Stream II due to its ambitions to sell American gas in European markets. This is because the pipeline would reduce the US LNG’s competitiveness as Russian pipeline gas is much cheaper. However, talks between President Joe Biden and Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a green light for the project to proceed as the former realised that it’s too late to resist the project at this point.