After the completion of the Nord Stream-2 pipeline, on Monday Germany’s energy regulator said it had four months to complete a certification.

After receiving all the necessary documentation, Nord Stream 2has lodged an application for an operating license from the pipeline company. The Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) (BNA) has commenced the process of certification of the Nord Stream 2 with said it has up to four months from Sept. 8 to produce a draft decision on the application.

Can Nord Stream-2 operations be impeded by sanctions?

 Despite the fact that Russia has announced the completion of the construction of Nord Stream-2, it can still be stopped by sanctions. This was the admission of Oksana Markarova, the Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States in an interview with European Truth. “We believe that Nord Stream-2 is a weapon. Our point of view has not changed. Even if it is 100% completed, there are still other issues – certification issues, “she said.

Nord Stream 2 completed.

The controversial Nord Stream 2 Russian-German pipeline has been completed. The last pipe section was welded into place on September 6. The operating company remains vague on the timing for the commencement of gas flow but said it would start before the end of the year. The required pre-commissioning procedures will need to be carried out to put the pipeline into operation. The $11 billion projects is expected to double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream pipeline across the

European Commission ready to discuss the format of consultations on Nord Stream 2

. Responding to a note verbale from the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs received on July 22, in which Kyiv requested consultations referring to Articles 274 and 338 of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, its representative affirmed:  “The EU continues to attach great importance to Ukraine’s energy security. We remain fully available to discuss any issues of concern for Ukraine.”

Opening of Nord Stream 2 blocked?

The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is not exempt from EU rules requiring owners of pipelines to be different from the suppliers of the gas that flows in them to ensure fair competition, the Duesseldorf Higher Regional Court ruled on August 25. It has rejected a challenge from the operators of the Gazprom-backed (project to carry gas who had argued the rules were discriminatory. The operating consortium had sought a review of a decision in May 2020 by the German

Construction of Nord Stream 2 should be completed on Monday, the day before Ukraine’s Independence Day

, reports Deutsche Welle. The €9.5 billion Russia—Germany natural gas pipeline is designed to render Ukraine’s Soviet-era east-west gas pipeline redundant. Coupled with Nord Stream 1, the two Baltic sea bed pipelines will have a combined annual capacity of 110 billion cubic meters of gas. After Gazprom’s gas transmission contract with Ukraine expires in 2024, Ukraine is expected to lose $1.5 billion a year in transmission fees.

Underlining the importance of Nord Stream 2 to the gas-starved Europe,

a false report that gas has started moving through the new pipeline caused EU gas prices to fall by 10% for two hours yesterday afternoon. After Gascade, the German pipeline company, denied the rumor to Bloomberg, prices returned to  $550/1,000 cubic meters. Russia’s Gazprom is refusing to ease Europe’s gas shortage, evidently calculating that high gas prices will force EU politicians to commission Nord Stream 2.

Guaranteeing high EU gas prices this fall, Russia’s Gazprom bought only 4% of additional pipeline capacity offered at auction by Ukraine yesterday

, reports UBR.ua. The news pushed Rotterdam hub gas prices to a new peak: $585/1,000 cubic meters. Ukraine’s Transmission System Operator had offered to pump an additional 15 million cubic meters in September – 14% above Gazprom’s daily contracted level. By forcing EU gas prices to the highest level in 20 years, Gazprom seems to be pressuring European government to commission the Russia-Germany Nord Stream 2 pipeline this fall.

Seeking US backing to block Nord Stream 2, a major Ukrainian energy association has signed a 1-year, $1.2 million contract with US law firm Arent Fox for legal and lobbying help in Washington.

The US Department of Justice reports that the Ukrainian Federation of Employers of the Oil and Gas Industry signed the contract last month. German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets with President Putin in Moscow on Friday, then flies to Kyiv on Sunday to meet President Zelenskiy.

“Germany Sees No Commitment to Shut Off Russian Gas in Biden Deal,”

headlines a Bloomberg story reported in Berlin and based on background interviews with German officials. “Germany has little intention of shutting off Nord Stream 2 if Vladimir Putin tries to use the controversial pipeline as a geopolitical weapon, whatever the U.S. might say,” starts the article by Patrick Donahue. In talks with US officials last month, German officials refused to put in the US-Germany agreement a trigger mechanism for Germany to shut off the gas if Russia threatens Ukraine. According

“US-German gas deal is a disservice to Ukraine,”

 headlines an editorial in London’s Financial Times. “Russian threat to Europe’s security cannot be ‘parked’ to focus on China.” Editors at the business newspaper write: “Nord Stream has always been at root a geopolitical project… Kyiv is justifiably worried that for Moscow, no longer having to rely on Ukraine’s pipeline for lucrative energy exports would remove a key constraint on further aggression.”

In Washington, Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that he had no doubt Russia “will use the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as a weapon

of coercion against Ukraine and transatlantic energy security as soon as it is operational. Promises to invest in future Ukrainian energy projects and ambiguous threats of consequences won’t change that reality.” In the Senate, John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican, said that the pipeline puts a “stranglehold” on Europe. “Protecting this Russian trap is not in our national security interest.”

With EU gas prices at 13-year highs and Russian gas supplies to the EU down by almost a fifth,

 the head of Ukraine’s pipeline company tells the Financial Times  that the EU should fight back against Russia’s ‘blackmail.” Sergiy Makogon, chief executive of Ukraine’s Gas Transmission System Operator, said he believed that Gazprom is deliberately holding back gas supplies from the EU to force approval of the controversial Russia-Germany Nord Stream 2 pipeline. “[The EU] should not follow this blackmail of Gazprom with prices,” he said.

The Baltic Sea pipeline bypasses Ukraine and will concentrate enormous power in Germany as the main distributor of Russian natural gas to the EU

. It will also deprive Ukraine of $1-2 billion in gas transit revenues and remove a brake on Russian behavior. Axios writes: “Bypassing Ukraine with a direct pipeline to Germany is an opportunity for Russia to advance its goal of isolating its former client state, now a fledgling democracy, from Western Europe.”

Nord Stream 2, the nearly completed Russia-Germany gas line, “is a matter of war,”

 President Zelenskiy said to Le Figaro newspaper prior to his meeting Friday with President Macron in Paris. “This is not a matter of business,” he said of the $10 billion trans-Baltic pipeline which is designed to render Ukraine’s transmission pipeline redundant. Gazprom officials have predicted that Nord Stream 2 will be commissioned by this fall. On Thursday, President Biden omitted Nord Stream 2 from US financial sanctions imposed on Russia. This prompted The Wall Street Journal to run on Friday

German and Biden Administration officials are discussing a package of measures that would allow the Russia-German gas line to open, but protect Ukraine’s security concerns

German and Biden Administration officials are discussing a package of measures that would allow the Russia-German gas line to open, but protect Ukraine’s security concerns, according to a Financial Times story headlined: “Germany aims for new deal with Washington on Nord Stream 2.” One proposal would empower Germany – or a German-American commission — to shut down the Nord Stream 2 pipeline if Russia stopped sending minimum gas flows across Ukraine, increasing risk of an all-out Russian military attack.

“As Berlin seeks solutions, early signs from Washington indicate that the Biden administration is seeking to defuse the Nord Stream 2 debate,”

“As Berlin seeks solutions, early signs from Washington indicate that the Biden administration is seeking to defuse the Nord Stream 2 debate,” the FT writes. “Two knowledgeable sources said [US Secretary of State Antony] Blinken has demonstrated a willingness to minimize sanctions.” Bloomberg later posted a matching story yesterday, headlined: “Germany Seeks Deal With Biden on Controversial Pipeline.” Bloomberg quotes Mark Helfrich, a Bundestag member from the ruling Christian Democratic Union, saying: “German, EU and U.S. officials are in talks

A cold weather spike in electricity consumption, a lack of coal, and power plant breakdowns are forcing Eastern Ukraine to import electricity

A cold weather spike in electricity consumption, a lack of coal, and power plant breakdowns are forcing Eastern Ukraine to import electricity from Belarus and Russia and Western Ukraine to import electricity from Slovakia, Romania and Hungary, reports Ukrenergo, the national power distribution company. As of Monday, 19 thermal power plants were offline, pulling 6,270 MW out of the system, Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, Ukrenergo’s chairman told a forum in Kyiv yesterday.

DTEK Group, Ukraine’s largest private power producer

DTEK Group, Ukraine’s largest private power producer, called on the government yesterday “to abolish price caps, which are an obstacle to the liberalization of the electricity market.” The company cited the example of the EU, where the cost of electricity production during peak loads can increase significantly. DTEK said: “We call on the government to intervene in the situation and immediately hold an anti-crisis headquarters with the participation of the Prime Minister.”

Ukraine’s Energoatom will soon stop sending spent nuclear fuel to Russia for processing and storage

Ukraine’s Energoatom will soon stop sending spent nuclear fuel to Russia for processing and storage, Petro Kotin, the company head, said yesterday. In July, the Centralized Spent Fuel Storage Facility will open, he said. At the same, time, Energoatom is completing a 43 km rail connector to the facility, built by Holtec, a US company, near Chornobyl. Nuclear supplies about half of Ukraine’s electricity.

With demand strong for Ukrainian government bonds, the Finance Ministry depressed yields on all five hryvnia bonds sold at yesterday’s auction

With demand strong for Ukrainian government bonds, the Finance Ministry depressed yields on all five hryvnia bonds sold at yesterday’s auction, the Ministry reported. With yields dropping from six to 44 basis points, the final range was 9.15% for 3-month bonds to 12.05% for 3-year bonds. The government sold hryvnia bonds for the equivalent of $213 million. Also posting results on Facebook, the Ministry says it sold $42 million worth of 2-year dollar bonds at 3.9% and €70.5 million worth

Looking beyond the bland public statements surrounding Ukraine’s recent suspension of talks with the IMF,

Looking beyond the bland public statements surrounding Ukraine’s recent suspension of talks with the IMF, Anders Aslund, a veteran IMF observer, writes in an Atlantic Council blog: “No agreement was concluded between the IMF and the Ukrainian government recently because they fundamentally disagree about pretty much everything.” Offering the only way forward, Aslund writes that President Zelenskiy “urgently needs to refocus on the anti-corruption messages that enabled him to win landslide election victories in the presidential and parliamentary votes of

DiDi, China’s giant online taxi service, plans to launch this year in Ukraine, reports AIN.ua news site. With 550 million users

DiDi, China’s giant online taxi service, plans to launch this year in Ukraine, reports AIN.ua news site. With 550 million users, tens of millions of users and billions of dollars in revenues, DiDi entered Russia last year, a first step in a plan to expand across Eastern Europe. Last week, DiDi posted on the GRC job search website that is looking for a manager to launch in Ukraine.

DiDi will compete with Bolt, Uber and Uklon for Ukraine’s taxi market, estimated by Uklon at $800 million a year.

DiDi will compete with Bolt, Uber and Uklon for Ukraine’s taxi market, estimated by Uklon at $800 million a year. Uber, the first mover in Ukraine, now operates in seven Ukrainian cities and claims that 4.3 million Ukrainians have downloaded its mobile app. Uklon operates in 19 cities and claims nearly 3 million users. Bolt operates in 10 cities and claims 3 million users.

Taxi services got a boost yesterday when the Rada overwhelmingly approved a bill raising the penalty for drunk driving to $608

Taxi services got a boost yesterday when the Rada overwhelmingly approved a bill raising the penalty for drunk driving to $608. For repeat offenders, the fine is doubled to $1,216, licenses are suspended for three years and vehicles can be seized. The Rada also tripled the fine – to $60 – for drivers caught breaking the national speed limit of 50km per hour in populated areas.

McDonald’s Ukraine plans to expand a pilot program of restaurant waste recycling to all 96 restaurants in the country by the end of this year

McDonald’s Ukraine plans to expand a pilot program of restaurant waste recycling to all 96 restaurants in the country by the end of this year, the company announced yesterday. As part of a worldwide McDonald’s drive to switch from plastics to paper by 2025, the restaurants in Ukraine switched last year to paper cups for drinks and paper boxes for salads.

Kyiv’s 11th Regus office work space opens in Podil next month

Kyiv’s 11th Regus office work space opens in Podil next month, reports the parent company, Luxembourg-based IWG Plc. Despite last year’s economic recession, total occupancy of the 10 existing Regus work spaces in Kyiv is 78%, Yulia Lytvynenko, Ukraine director of IWG, tells Interfax-Ukraine. Predicting that several large leases will be signed in coming weeks, she predicts that the overall occupancy will rise “to 83% by March.” The new Regus will occupy three floors of the new Volodymyrsky business center

Kyiv’s Sikorsky Airport is to add 500 meters to its runway, allowing Wizz Air, its primary user, to use larger jets.

Kyiv’s Sikorsky Airport is to add 500 meters to its runway, allowing Wizz Air, its primary user, to use larger jets. By moving to Airbus 321 jets, Wizz Air says it can reduce frequencies and noise in the capital’s Zhuliany neighborhood. Wizz Air has ordered 190 Airbus 321s, which carry 30% more passengers than the Airbus 320s, currently the workhorse of Wizz Air.

Mayor Klitschko signed an order last week for design work to start on a 5-year upgrade of the airport

Mayor Klitschko signed an order last week for design work to start on a 5-year upgrade of the airport. By expanding the runway to 2,810 meters, upgrading lights and adding an instrument landing system, the airport is to be certified to land jets in bad weather, avoiding diversions to Boryspil. Ukraine’s second busiest airport, after Boryspil, Sikorsky handled 2.6 million passengers in 2019. The City Council is mulling a second expansion: increasing the airport’s territory by 5%, to 278 hectares.

The government’s plan to cut gas prices by one third is sparking a flurry of meetings between the IMF representative and government ministers. “

The government’s plan to cut gas prices by one third is sparking a flurry of meetings between the IMF representative and government ministers. “We had a constructive meeting with the IMF on gas prices,” Prime Minister Shmygal wrote yesterday evening on Telegram. “Our Government’s position: the gas market in Ukraine must work. Unfortunately, some market players continue to abuse the position that Ukrainians suffer from.”

Aware of the IMF’s core attachment to market prices for gas,

Aware of the IMF’s core attachment to market prices for gas, acting Energy Minister Yuriy Vitrenko and Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko also explained the government’s position to IMF representatives. “They are concerned that we are revising some of our earlier commitments,” Marchenko told NV Radio yesterday, referring to the IMF. There are no grounds, he added, “to say that we have already done something very bad.”

From London, Timothy Ash stressed the importance of market prices for a major source of Ukraine’s heat and electricity:

From London, Timothy Ash stressed the importance of market prices for a major source of Ukraine’s heat and electricity: “The move to market-based gas pricing in Ukraine has produced huge wins in recent years – it’s helped slash gas consumption from plus 70 bcm to less than 30 bcm, cutting the energy import bill from $12bn per annum, to perhaps $2-3bn, and also cut the quasi-fiscal deficit by 4-5% of GDP, given the huge subsidies previously given to Naftogaz. That

Spawning street protests in at least eight regional capitals, the spike in Ukraine’s gas prices stems from

Spawning street protests in at least eight regional capitals, the spike in Ukraine’s gas prices stems from: cold weather, high prices in Europe, and a poorly implemented market opening that allows price gouging by suppliers. Ash again: “The Zelenskiy team will argue that this is not aimed as a major reversal in market-based energy pricing, but is a reaction to oligopoly pricing by a few bad actors in the industry. Essentially Naftogaz seems to be selling gas to consumers at

At stake is $2.9 billion of low interest loans remaining to be disbursed from the IMF’s $5 billion Stand-By Arrangement of last summer.

At stake is $2.9 billion of low interest loans remaining to be disbursed from the IMF’s $5 billion Stand-By Arrangement of last summer. The agreement is widely seen as a seal of approval for Ukraine’s economic policies, an approval that lowers Eurobond rates for Ukrainian borrowers and, ideally, gives a green light to foreign brick and mortar investors. While discussions behind closed doors in Kyiv have been heated, in Washington, IMF Spokesman Jerry Rice merely told reporters yesterday: “The first

One year after the last-minute renegotiation of Ukraine’s gas transit deal with Gazprom,

One year after the last-minute renegotiation of Ukraine’s gas transit deal with Gazprom, Naftogaz reports that the Russian state company paid its 2020 bill in full — $2.1 billion. Gazprom paid for shipping the total booked amount – 65 billion cubic meters. By year’s end, Gazprom had shipped only 86% of that amount — 55.8 bcm.  This year through 2024, Gazprom is contracted to ship 40 bcm a year through Ukraine’s pipelines.

Today, the US State Department is expected to issue a report listing which European companies working on Nord Stream 2 will be subject to US sanctions,

Today, the US State Department is expected to issue a report listing which European companies working on Nord Stream 2 will be subject to US sanctions, Reuters reports from Washington. In advance, Rambøll, Danish, a consulting engineering company, dropped out of the $11 billion Russia-Germany gas line project this week. The company had done environmental impact studies, reports Politiken, the Copenhagen newspaper. A few days earlier, Norway’s Det Norske Veritas GL, which was to certify the1,230 km pipeline upon completion, also

TIU Canada of Calgary is suing Nikopol Ferroalloy Plant for disconnecting the Canadians’ 10.5 MW solar plant last March

TIU Canada of Calgary is suing Nikopol Ferroalloy Plant for disconnecting the Canadians’ 10.5 MW solar plant last March, ostensibly because the Ferroalloy Plant did not want to pay green power rates. The trial started Wednesday in Kyiv Commercial Court with TIU charging that the shutdown has cost them €1.5 million over the last 10 months. The solar plant connects to a substation on the grounds of the Ferroalloy Plant, which is owned by Igor Kolomoisky, Gennadiy Bogolyubov, and Viktor

Ukraine’s coal production fell by 7% last year, hitting 29 million tons, near the level of 1916

Ukraine’s coal production fell by 7% last year, hitting 29 million tons, near the level of 1916, reports the Energy Ministry. Employment in coal mines is about 30,000 today – 6% the level of the end of the Soviet period. In the last 15 years, government subsidies to coal mines have been cut from $8 billion a year to less than $500 million a year today.

Western Ukraine Coal Construction, Ukraine’s last state company devoted to building coal mines, goes up for auction in 10 days

Western Ukraine Coal Construction, Ukraine’s last state company devoted to building coal mines, goes up for auction in 10 days, reports the State Property Fund. The company has 15,700 square meters at its headquarters in Chervonograd, Lviv region and nine hectares at a miners’ resort in Volyn’s lake region. Bids start at $400,000.

The State Property Fund plans to sell 500 state properties this year to private owners

The State Property Fund plans to sell 500 state properties this year to private owners, Dmytro Sennychenko, the head of the Fund, wrote on Facebook. “Privatization grows jobs, improves the socio-economic state of the regions, and the state ceases to spend taxpayers’ funds on damages,” he wrote. Obstacles include: the need to follow 70 procedures for each property sale, “sabotage by enterprise management or its ′shadow ′ executives,” and the lack of final Rada approval to lift last year’s suspension

Regional airports are primed for a post pandemic takeoff

Regional airports are primed for a post pandemic takeoff. UkSATSE traffic numbers for 2020 confirmed the dominance of Kyiv’s two big airports – Boryspil (47,524 flights) and Sikorsky (12,805). The air traffic control agency’s graphic on Facebook shows a second layer that is catching up with Sikorsky: Lviv (9,850), Odesa (9,282), and Kharkiv (7,576). A third layer shows potential: Dnipro (4,174), Poltava (4,119) and Zaporizhia (4,087). This winter, Dnipro starts a 3-year, $100 million rebuild of its runway and terminal.

The EBRD is working with the Infrastructure Ministry to create dedicated funds to develop Ukraine’s airports and railway infrastructure

The EBRD is working with the Infrastructure Ministry to create dedicated funds to develop Ukraine’s airports and railway infrastructure, Minister Vladyslav Krykliy said yesterday on the ministry website. In an attempt to emulate the Road Fund, “the EBRD has already allocated funding and selected consultants to analyze international experience, develop a concept and write relevant legislation,” Krikliy said. The EBRD also gave the Minister a report yesterday assessing the ministry’s capacity to execute public partnerships with private companies.