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Uniper warns of failure of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline


The US has long wanted to impose sanctions to prevent the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Now the energy company involved, Uniper, is warning that the US government could succeed with its strategy.

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Working on the gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea (archive picture): Uniper could cost the project dearly


The energy company Uniper, which is involved in the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline, sees a growing risk of the project failing. Since the USA had intensified its efforts to enforce sanctions against the gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, "the probability has increased that there will be delays in the construction of the gas pipeline or that it will not be completed at all," writes Uniper in an interim report for the first half of the year 2020.

In the event of an end to the pipeline, Uniper "may have to adjust the value of the loan made available for Nord Stream 2" and "cannot realize" the planned interest income. Uniper is involved in the financing of the gas pipeline with 950 million euros. According to Uniper, the money has already flowed in full.

US President Donald Trump has long criticized Nord Stream 2. He accuses Germany of allowing itself to be militarily protected from Russia, but at the same time giving Moscow high revenues from gas exports. At the end of 2019, it enabled the first punitive measures against certain companies involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2. The US government recently threatened to expand sanctions over the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline. As a financial partner, Uniper is not directly affected by sanctions.

"We assume that gas will flow through this pipe"

"Basically we are looking at the development of the sanctions with concern", said Uniper CEO Andreas Schierenbeck in a conference call. The classification of Nord Stream as a "significant individual risk" for Uniper, but is "completely normal risk management". Despite the threats from the USA, Uniper is assuming "that gas will flow through this pipeline".

"No state has the right to dictate its energy policy to the EU. And that will not succeed either," said Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) in Moscow after a meeting with his Russian colleague Sergei Lavrov. Sanctions between partners are definitely the wrong way to go. He also declared this position to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the weekend.

Lavrov accused the US of wanting to enforce its position all over the world. The Nord Stream 2 project must be completed. "And as far as I understand, there is every reason to assume that this will also happen in the near future."

Operationally, things went largely smoothly for Uniper in the first half of the year despite the corona crisis. After a good first half of the year, Uniper raised its expectations for the year as a whole somewhat. The Düsseldorf company is now expecting an adjusted operating result (EBIT) of between EUR 800 million and a billion.

Uniper had put the controversial hard coal power plant Datteln 4 into operation at the end of May. By the end of 2025, the supplier, which has emerged from the Eon Group, plans to shut down hard coal power plant blocks with a total output of around 2900 megawatts.

Germany wants to phase out coal-fired power generation by 2038 at the latest. The operators of hard coal power plants do not receive any fixed compensation. Instead, they should apply for decommissioning bonuses. There are a total of eight tendering rounds until 2027, with falling maximum prices. The first auction is scheduled for September 1st.

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hej / dpa / Reuters

Source: spiegel

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