Germany is considering changes to the legal framework governing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to make sure that it complies with new European Union regulations, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told Reuters on Feb. 15.
The EU this week agreed new rules for gas import pipelines, stipulating that the pipelines should not be owned by gas suppliers and that third parties should also be able to use them.
The new EU deal casts doubt over the structure of Russia's planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which already faces uncertainty after Denmark's potential ban on its planned route which includes Danish territorial waters.
Altmaier said the pipeline could still be built under the new conditions but there would clearly be some changes.
"One regarding the ownership of the pipeline, since European law requires ownership of pipeline and production to be separated," Altmaier said on the margins of the Munich Security Conference. "There may also be changes regarding who has access to the pipeline and who can feed it."
The pipeline, currently under construction under the Baltic Sea and fully owned by Russia's state-owned Gazprom, is seen by Berlin as a primarily commercial project that is essential to Germany's ongoing energy security.
But Eastern European, Nordic and Baltic Sea countries see the 760-mile pipeline as increasing EU reliance on Moscow. The project also faces opposition from Washington.
Altmaier said it was in Germany's interest that the pipeline be built "together with our European partners", but that any amendments to the project to allow it to meet the new conditions had to be Germany's decision alone.
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