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FACTBOX-Nord Stream 2's remaining hurdles, ongoing issues

FRANKFURT, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Russia’s Gazprom has finished construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which a Gazprom-led consortium will use to carry gas under the Baltic Sea to Germany, but the energy regulator in Bonn still has to approve compliance with energy company laws.

The authority (Bundesnetzagentur), which is in charge of making sure that rules requiring separate energy company operations for production, transport and trade are applied, cannot gauge how long the process will take.

Starting operations without its approval could constitute a regulatory breach.

A German regional court decided on Aug. 25 that rules under EU “unbundling” directives must apply to the German section of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

Gazprom expects to start operating in 2021.

There are other open issues listed here:

- Certification should take a maximum of four months but will only start once all paperwork is complete, which entails checks being made between the Berlin economics ministry and Gazprom. Afterwards, the draft decision will be presented to the European Commission for its comment.

- Some insurance firms distanced themselves from Nord Stream 2 (NS 2) in February, citing the risk of U.S. sanctions. There has been no word on any potential insurer.

- The consortium is pursuing an appeal it filed against a May 2020 decision by the European Court of Justice, which referred enforcement of the EU gas directives back to national authorities in Germany.

- The NS 2 consortium has also called for arbitration around its discrimination claim under the international energy charter that protects investments.

- The energy ministry of the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania must approve the start of pipeline operations, but this hinges on the unbundling-related approval by the Bundesnetzagentur.

- Environmental group DUH has filed a complaint with a Greifswald regional court against the operational licence granted to NS 2 by the Stralsund mining authority.

- DUH has also filed a complaint against approval by the federal maritime regulator (BSH) for the construction and operation of NS 2 in German waters.

Reporting by Vera Eckert Editing by Mark Potter

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