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View of pipe systems and shut-off devices at the gas receiving station of the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline in Lubmin, Germany, on Nov. 16. Photo: Stefan Sauer/picture alliance via Getty Images

Germany's network regulator said Tuesday that it paused its certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline due to an issue with the company's license under German law, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: The pause throws a wrench in the approval process of the already contentious pipeline — which would transport Russian gas to Europe under the Baltic Sea — and caused regional gas prices to rise.

Driving the news: "Following a thorough examination of the documentation, the Bundesnetzagentur concluded that it would only be possible to certify an operator of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline if that operator was organized in a legal form under German law," the regulator said in a statement, per AP.

  • The news of the pause triggered an increase in natural gas markets in Europe, including in the U.K., where natural gas futures rose more than 9%, according to the New York Times.
  • The certification process will remain on pause "until the main assets and human resources have been transferred to the subsidiary," per AP.

The big picture: The U.S. and Ukraine have both opposed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was completed this year but has not yet been in operation.

  • The pipeline is owned by Russian-controlled gas company Gazprom with investment from several European countries.
  • President Biden earlier this year waived sanctions on firms involved in the pipeline, which in 2019 stalled its progress, frustrating Germany and the European Union, Axios' Jonathan Swan reports.
  • Seeking to mitigate fears from members of Congress and Eastern European countries over Russia potentially using the pipeline against Ukraine, Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel reached a deal in July.
  • Per the agreement, the U.S. and Germany will intervene if Russia tries to "use energy as a weapon," set up a "green fund" to help Ukraine modernize its energy sector, and seek to ensure Russia continues to pay Ukraine around $3 billion in gas transit fees annually.

Go deeper: Russia's Gazprom says Nord Stream 2 pipeline is complete

Go deeper

Dec 7, 2021 - World

Biden huddles with European allies on Ukraine ahead of Putin call

Putin in the Kremlin. Photo: Grigory Sysoyev/Sputnik via Getty

President Biden will seek to convince Russia's Vladimir Putin in a phone call Tuesday that the price of invading Ukraine would be steeper than anything he's faced in the past.

Driving the news: Biden held a call on Ukraine this evening with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and the U.K., while Secretary of State Tony Blinken called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to offer America's "unwavering support."

Dec 6, 2021 - World

Biden to warn Putin U.S. will add troops in Eastern Europe if Russia invades Ukraine

Putin meets Biden in Geneva. Photo: Peter Klaunzer - Pool/Keystone via Getty

President Biden will warn Russian President Vladimir Putin when they speak on Tuesday that if Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. is prepared to increase its troop presence, capabilities and military exercises on NATO's "eastern flank," a senior administration official told reporters.

Why it matters: The administration believes it's increasingly likely that Putin will order an invasion.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congressional leaders clinch support for crucial defense bill, debt limit votes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer passes waiting reporters on Tuesday. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Congress has found a shortcut to pass its annual defense funding bill and raise the debt limit.

Driving the news: The House voted Tuesday night on two major bills — one creating a one-time, fast-track process for the Senate to raise the debt ceiling with just 51 votes, and another passing its annual defense bill.

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