The first line of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline has been filled with technical gas, and the second is being prepared for this, the operator of the Nord Stream 2 AG project said.

“As of October 18, the procedure for filling the first line with gas <…> was completed. Commissioning work on the second line continues,” the press release said.

It is specified that about 177 million cubic meters were pumped in, which provides a pressure level in the gas pipeline of 103 bar. This is enough to transport fuel in the future.

“Our goal is to provide the market with additional reliable gas transmission capacities as soon as possible. We will inform you about further technical steps additionally,” the company added.

The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline stretches from the Russian coast through the Baltic Sea to Germany and consists of two lines with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The builders completed the work on September 10. Now the process of certification of the operator is underway to comply with the terms of the EU gas directive. It will take place in two stages: first, the German regulator will develop a draft decision, then the European Commission will give its assessment of it. The whole process, according to legal requirements, can take several months.

Deputy Prime Minister and ex-head of the Russian Ministry of Energy, Alexander Novak, said on October 14 that the pipeline would be ready for launch in the coming days, and then everything would depend on partners.

Europe on October 13 began an active period of gas withdrawal from its UGS facilities. At the start of the withdrawal season, the vaults were just over 78 percent full, 14 percentage points less than the five-year average.

Germany’s economy ministry, as part of licensing assessments of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, has consulted neighbouring countries about issues of gas supply security and expects to hear back within weeks, outgoing minister Peter Altmaier told journalists

Once the assessment is completed, the ministry will recommend whether the energy regulator can certify the controversial pipeline, said Altmaier, who will step down once a new German government is in place.

“By the end of next week or the beginning of the week thereafter, we will look at the replies and we will inform you what kind of recommendation will be dispatched to the regulator,” he said.