German energy regulator, Bundesnetzagentur, temporarily suspended the certification procedure for the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline on Tuesday, citing the necessity of forming a subsidiary company under German law to govern the German section of the pipeline.
The Bundesnetzagentur said in a statement that the decision to suspend the certification process came after a thorough examination of the documentation.
It said the subsidiary is to become the owner and operator of the German part of the pipeline, while further stipulating that it must fulfill the requirements of an independent transmission operator as set out in the German Energy Industry Act.
The German regulator said that certification would be suspended until the main assets and human resources have been transferred to the subsidiary.
'Bundesnetzagentur is able to check whether the documentation resubmitted by the subsidiary, as the new applicant, is complete,' the statement read.
When these requirements have been met, the regulator said it would resume its examination in the remaining fourth quarter as set out in law, produce a draft decision and deliver it to the European Commission for an opinion, as required under EU legislation on the internal market.
The construction of the pipeline has been completed despite encountering various obstacles and deemed undesirable by many European countries, as it is claimed that Russia is using the pipeline to gain leverage in Europe.
The statement also noted that the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the European Commission were informed in advance and the parties involved in the proceedings were notified of the decision, which was then published.
The European continent has been besieged with difficulties in obtaining sufficient natural gas in a market that has seen skyrocketing prices in the last few months.
Following the announcement, the European natural gas benchmark Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF) increased by over 10% to €89.9 per megawatt-hour.
The TTF price had calmed down to €65 per megawatt-hour after reaching an all-time high of €160 per megawatt-hour for November delivery on Oct. 6.
Russia said earlier that rapid gas flows from the Nord Stream 2, which plans to carry 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea, would balance high natural gas prices on the continent, including spot market prices.
Gazprom announced the completion of the construction of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project on Sept. 10. According to Gazprom's statement, the cost of the pipeline project has reached around €10 billion.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya