Gazprom's share in Opal capacity drops to 50 pct after ruling - EC

2019-09-10 17:34 update: 2019-09-13, 20:21
Russian gas monopolist Gazprom will be able to use up to 50 percent of the Opal pipeline's capacity, not 100 percent as it does today, European Commission (EC) spokesperson Anna-Kaisa Itkonen told PAP on Tuesday following the EU top court's ruling.

The Court of Justice of the European Union on Tuesday issued a favourable ruling for Poland by cancelling the European Commission (EC) decision to grant Gazprom 100 percent of the Opal pipeline's capacity.

Anna-Kaisa Itkonen told PAP that the court's annulment of the Commission's decision of 2016 meant that the previous one, made in 2009, was back in force. This means that Gazprom will hold a reservation of up to 50 percent of Opal's capacity.

Gazprom wanted a bigger share in the pipeline that runs through Germany along Poland's western border.

Itkonen said the EC acknowledged the court's decision and said the energy solidarity principle was dear to the EC. She also said the EC will give the principle special consideration when making any exclusion decisions in the future and will analyse Tuesday's ruling.

Opal connects the Nord Stream I pipeline with the Yamal pipeline infrastructure and pipeline systems in the Czech Republic. The pipeline's annual capacity reaches 36 billion cubic metres of gas.

Polish state-run gas company PGNiG has sued the European Commission over its decision to grant Russia's Gazprom more capacity in the Opal pipeline. In October 2016, the European Commission lifted a cap on Gazprom's use of the Opal pipeline, which carries gas from the Nord Stream pipeline under the Baltic Sea to customers in Germany and the Czech Republic. (PAP)