A Swiss court has suspended bankruptcy proceedings against gas pipeline operator Nord Stream 2 for a further six months until July 10, 2023, the court announced in the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce on Wednesday.
The pipeline was fully completed and ready for launch in September 2021, but its certification was delayed and ultimately blocked by Germany in early February due to US sanctions. After spending $11 billion building it, it is now idle and its operator is scrambling to avoid insolvency.
This is the third time that the cantonal court of Zug in Switzerland, where Nord Stream 2 AG is headquartered, has granted the company an extension of a debt restructuring moratorium, which is a period during which creditors cannot collect money from the business.
In May, a judge extended a temporary moratorium on bankruptcy proceedings and appointed the company Transliq as administrator of Nord Stream 2. In September, the court postponed the proceedings again, this time until January 10, 2023.
Now the indebted pipeline operator has an additional six months to fight bankruptcy under Swiss law. A moratorium is usually granted when the costs of running a business are covered and there is the prospect of debt restructuring or reaching an agreement with creditors.
Nord Stream 2 AG is a subsidiary of Russian energy giant Gazprom. The pipeline, which crosses the Baltic Sea, was designed to increase the supply of Russian gas to the EU. It consists of two strings and has a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year.
The project was launched in response to requests from the German government led by former Chancellor Angela Merkel. It was fully completed and ready for launch in September 2021, pending certification by Germany and the EU. The German government suspended the approval process in February, however, as earlier US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 had made dealing with the project operator difficult.
About 40 people are still employed to take care of the technical and administrative tasks of Nord Stream 2, the costs being covered by Gazprom.
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