The European Union finalized a draft amendment to the European Union Gas Directive, which controls the use of gas pipelines in the territory of the alliance. The European Union plans to introduce all the technical procedures by the end of 2019. The head of the Directorate-General for Energy within the European Commission, Dominique Ristori, has previously stressed that the EU intends to bring the amendments into effect before the start of operation of the Russian Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline so that it falls under the new rules. According to the amendments, the pipeline's operator should be independent from Gazprom, and 50% of the gas pipeline's capacity should be reserved for other suppliers, which could reduce gas pumping by half.
The amendments were adopted without a discussion, reports TASS with reference to the press service of the European Union Council. The law will come into force twenty days after the publication and the EU member states will have nine months to integrate the amendments into their legislation.
Ristori stated that all technical procedures for bringing changes into action must be carried out before the end of 2019. According to him, this will be done to ensure that the laws apply to the Nord Stream 2, which is also planned to be launched before the end of 2019.
The new directives extend EU regulations for the control of all gas pipelines to and from third countries not participating in the alliance. According to the European Union rules, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline operator should be a company independent from Gazprom. Also, 50% of the gas pipeline’s capacity should be reserved for pumping gas from other companies that are independent suppliers. Such requirements might leave the pipe half-empty indefinitely.
The Federal Republic of Germany has achieved a significant ‘softening’ of this amendments package. The decision on whether to grant an exemption from these norms to the Russian gas pipeline will be taken not by Brussels, but by Berlin after consulting with the European Commission. Thus, it is not yet known how much the new changes will affect the Nord Stream 2, and whether it will affect its profitability for Russia.