EU seeks mandate for talks with Russia over gas pipeline

The European Commission is seeking a mandate from Member States to give it the authority to negotiate with Russia over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. The project, led by […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The European Commission is seeking a mandate from Member States to give it the authority to negotiate with Russia over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

The project, led by Russian energy firm Gazprom, will consist of two additional pipelines that could transport up to 55 billion cubic meters of gas.

It will be a new route for Russian gas exports to Europe, expanding from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea.

The Commission believes the project does not contribute to the Energy Union objectives of giving access to new supply sources, routes or suppliers.

It therefore aims to ensure the project, if built, operates in a “transparent and non-discriminatory way with an appropriate degree of regulatory oversight”, in line with key principles of international and EU energy law.

Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President for Energy Union said: “Creating a well-diversified and competitive gas market is a priority of the EU’s energy security and Energy Union strategy. As we have stated several times, Nord Stream 2 does not contribute to the Energy Union’s objectives.

“If the pipeline is nevertheless built, the least we have to do is to make sure that it will be operated in a transparent manner and in line with the main EU energy market rules.”

Nord Stream AG, a joint company where Gazprom holds the most shares, believes there is no need for an international agreement between the EU and Russia and that the reasoning is “flawed and based on misperceptions”.

Sebastian Sass, EU Representative for Nord Stream 2 added: “Nord Stream 2 believes that this initiative is entirely unnecessary. The German regulator already confirmed that there is no legal void that needs to be addressed. Our permitting procedures have been launched successfully and are being conducted by the competent authorities in full compliance with all applicable laws.

“As part of these procedures, Nord Stream 2 is now actively engaging in open and transparent consultations with stakeholders in all countries around the Baltic Sea.”

Earlier this year, five European energy companies signed agreements to invest as much as €950 million (£807m) each to fund the gas pipeline.