European natural gas prices surged Tuesday after German regulators delayed certifying the Nord Stream 2 (NS2) pipeline, exacerbating fears that the continent won’t have enough of the fuel this winter. 

“This provides additional pressure to uncertain gas supplies, coupled with the now stereotypical Russian move of not booking additional transit capacity through Ukraine at Monday’s auctions,” said Schneider Electric analyst Daniel Varga.

Prices started the week higher after Gazprom PJSC elected not to book additional capacity into Western Europe for next month. That “elevated” supply uncertainty “into the end of the year,” said analysts at Goldman Sachs Commodities Research.

The German regulator that oversees natural gas suspended the NS2 certification process after Gazprom affiliate Nord Stream 2 AG said it would establish a subsidiary to operate the German stretch of the system, which is designed to move 5.3 Bcf/d from Russia to Europe. Regulators said they would restart the certification process once assets have been transferred to the new subsidiary. 

European Union rules require ownership of transmission and natural gas to be separate, which could complicate the certification process, given Gazprom’s integrated structure. The certification delay raises the specter that Europe may wait longer for much needed supplies from NS2, “increasing risks of a catastrophe this winter if weather is sufficiently cold,” said EBW Analytics Group. 

Natural gas in European storage is at about 74% of capacity compared to the five-year average of 91%. 

Dutch and British futures on Tuesday settled at some of their highest levels in weeks, finishing about $5/MMBtu higher on the NS2 news.  The prompt National Balancing Point contract finished above $32, and the prompt Title Transfer Facility finished above $31.

“Gazprom’s export volumes are the key driver of European hub prices this winter,” UK consultancy Timera Energy said in a note on Monday. “This is because of the simple fact that there is very limited flexibility available from other supply and demand sources.”

Prices jumped sharply at the beginning of last week as the market waited for Russia to fulfill its promise to begin sending more natural gas to Europe. As Russian supplies gradually increased, prices fell by midweek. However, they bounced back to finish the week stronger after Belarus threatened to shut down a pipeline moving Russian gas to Europe because of a migrant crisis.

Gazprom said Monday it had increased gas exports to countries outside the former Soviet Union by 8.3% year/year from the start of this year through Monday (Nov. 15). Goldman analysts also said the company could still increase supplies to Europe next month with day-ahead nominations.

A compressor failure at Norway’s massive Troll field has also curbed European gas supplies. The outage is expected to last until Friday. A colder forecast is supporting prices, too.

Spot prices in North Asia jumped above $33 on Tuesday as the continent continued to compete with Europe for liquefied natural gas cargoes amid the supply crunch. 

Chevron Corp. said Tuesday it would suspend production from one of its trains at the Gorgon LNG terminal in Australia, a leading Asian supplier, after a gas leak was discovered. The shutdown is precautionary to inspect the leak, the company said.