European Commission has not taken steps yet to reduce Gazprom’s use of Opal pipeline

12.09.2019

The European Commission (EC) has not yet taken concrete measures to reduce the use of the Opal gas pipeline by Gazprom, European Commission’s Vice President for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic said at a briefing in Brussels.

"Concerning concrete steps or further action from the commission, as you know, it [decision] was adopted just yesterday, so we really have to analyze and react in accordance with the law with our prerogatives," he said.

He was commenting on the fact that according to the European statistics the level of gas supplies via Opal has not changed since Tuesday.

On September 10, it became known that the European Court of Justice canceled the decision of the European Commission dated 2016, according to which Gazprom could fully use the capacities of the Opal gas pipeline.

Opal is a branch pipeline connecting Nord Stream to the gas transmission system of Central and Western Europe. Its capacity is 36 billion cubic meters per year.

For several years, Russia could use only 50% of the pipeline’s capacity, as prescribed in the EU’s Third Energy Package. Gazprom asked for permission to use Opal’s 100% capacity, as the Russian holding company is the only gas supplier to the Nord Stream pipeline, which receives gas via Opal. In the autumn of 2016, the EC allowed Gazprom to participate in auctions for the right to use another 40% of Opal's transit capacities.

However, at the end of 2016, Poland appealed against this decision, claiming that it contradicts the principle of diversification of supplies. Poland also believes that the decision poses a threat of disruption or termination of supplies, since gas flows through the territory of Ukraine. In the summer of 2017, the Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court decided to remove interim measures on Gazprom’s use of Opal’s facilities imposed by the lawsuit. Poland claims that the decision of the European Court of Justice will not allow Gazprom to abandon gas transit through the territory of Ukraine.


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