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EU Gas Directive Approval Could Delay Russian-Led Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

The EU Council approved a European gas directive on April 15 that is expected to delay commissioning of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline – and potentially leave it half empty.

By extending EU rules to non-EU pipelines — particularly those outside EU territory —  the directive will force Gazprom to “unbundle” or hand over operation of the line to a company independent of Russia’s state gas producer. However, Gazprom maintains a jealously guarded monopoly over gas exports from Russia and will be very reluctant to share the right to export with anyone. Currently, the only other entity allowed to export gas is privately owned Novatek, which is limited to exporting liquified natural gas (LNG).

Potentially more seriously, half of the pipeline has to be reserved for third companies. Given Gazprom’s gas export monopoly, this could leave half of the pipe empty until Russia creates a separate gas exporter, and will almost certainly create delays for the pipeline.

Continue reading the article on The Moscow Times news website.