Nord Stream 2, Europe's most controversial energy project, cleared a prominent hurdle this week when the German Federal Economy Ministry concluded that certifying the 1200-km undersea pipeline will not threaten the security of gas supply to the Federal Republic of Germany or the European Union.
While the pipeline has been built and is ready to run, it needs to be certified by Germany's Federal Network Agency and the supply analysis done by the ministry is a key component for the regulator to continue the certification process.
Reuters reported that the German regulator has until early January to certify the pipeline but may make its decision earlier. Once it has made its recommendation, it goes to the European Commission, which has another two months to respond, which could prolong indefinitely the launch of Nord Stream 2's operations.
The pipeline has gained more scrutiny as Europe faces a gas supply crunch that sent prices to record levels this month.
The Kremlin has denied that Russia is withholding supplies in order to exert pressure for quick regulatory approval of Nord Stream 2.