Uniper CEO expects Nord Stream 2 to carry gas in next heating season

FILE PHOTO: The logo of German energy utility company Uniper SE is pictured in the company's headquarters in Duesseldorf, Germany, March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen

FRANKFURT (Reuters) -Uniper, one of the financial backers of Nord Stream 2, expects the pipeline to be available for gas transport from the start of the next winter heating season in October, its CEO said.

The pipeline, which is technically complete, still needs to be certified by the German network agency. Uniper’s chief executive Klaus-Dieter Maubach told the annual Handelsblatt energy summit this was expected by late summer.

“I expect - assuming that the Ukraine-Russia conflict does not escalate - that the pipeline Nord Stream 2 will have successfully gone through the certification process in summer, maybe late summer,” Maubach said.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday signalled that Germany may consider halting the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will carry Russian gas to Europe, if Russia attacked Ukraine.

“Of course we at Uniper are worried...about what is happening at the Russian-Ukrainian border and that’s a risk that could have a very short-term impact on gas supplies,” Maubach said.

He said that he expected the pipeline would be available as gas import infrastructure for the German and European market from the next gas year, which starts on Oct. 1, 2022.

“Russia is an important, indispensable partner for us,” Maubach added.

Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Vera Eckert; Editing by David Goodman and Alexander Smith