Uniper CEO does not expect Nord Stream 2 relief for winter gas squeeze

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CEO of Uniper SE Klaus-Dieter Maubach attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg, Russia, June 4, 2021. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

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  • Certification may come too late to relieve gas market
  • Gazprom customers Uniper says all contracts being met
  • Uniper wants to lower Russian unit's carbon footprint

DUESSELDORF, Germany, Oct 1 (Reuters) - German utility Uniper's (UN01.DE) CEO does not expect the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to help ease the tight global gas market this winter as an operating licence is unlikely to come quickly.

The new pipeline, which could allow Russia to double gas flows to Europe via the Baltic Sea, has faced political opposition from Washington as well as Ukraine and Poland, which have both served as transit routes to western Europe. read more

While the 1,200 km, twin-track pipeline is technically complete, it has to obtain a transmission operator status from the German energy regulator, a process which started on Sept. 8 and could take up to four months. read more

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"The certification of the pipeline, as far as I know, will be so late it will probably not be able to help us out this winter," Uniper Chief Executive Klaus-Dieter Mauchbach said.

After the German regulator completes its inspection, the authority will send a draft decision to the European Commission.

Uniper, majority-owned by Finnish Fortum (FORTUM.HE), is one of five western companies that have joined up as finance partners in the Gazprom-led infrastructure project (GAZP.MM).

The others are BASF's (BASFn.DE) Wintershall Dea (WINT.UL), Anglo-Dutch oil major Shell (RDSa.L), Austria's OMV (OMVV.VI) and French energy company Engie (ENGIE.PA).

Responding market concerns that deliveries had been falling behind and were too low to help keep the market in balance, Maubach said Russia had been a reliable supplier for decades.

"All contracts we have signed with the Russian Gazprom group are being fulfilled," he told reporters in Duesseldorf, adding that Gazprom was not delivering much more than in the contracts.

He declined to comment when asked whether the Russian company was unable to, or was choosing not to, deliver more.

Gazprom has repeatedly said it is supplying customers with gas in full compliance with existing contracts and has pointed to Nord Stream 2's potential role in helping provide additional supplies. read more

Uniper's Russian unit, which operates coal and gas-fired power plants, needed to contribute to the company's decarbonisation efforts, Maubach said, adding that there were many possibilities to achieve this including a sale. read more

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Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff, writing by Vera Eckert, editing by Riham Alkousaa and Alexander Smith

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