• Natural Gas News

    EU Court Suspends EC Opal Decision



The European Union Court of Justice has suspended the execution of the EC's decision of Oct 28 regarding Gazprom's use of the Opal gas pipeline capacity.

by: William Powell

Posted in:

Natural Gas & LNG News, Americas, Europe, Corporate, Import/Export, Competition, Political, Ministries, Infrastructure, Pipelines, OPAL, News By Country, EU, Germany, Poland, Ukraine

EU Court Suspends EC Opal Decision

The European Union Court of Justice has suspended the execution of the European Commission's decision of October 28, 2016 with respect to the Opal gas pipeline, said the applicant PGNiG in a statement December 27.

The EC’s decision allowed Gazprom to access 80-90% of the capacity from January 1, compared with half now.

The request to suspend the execution of the EC's decision for a full investigation was submitted by the Polish firm's German subsidiary, PGNiG Supply & Trading on December 4 and the Polish government on December 16.

The applicants said the EC’s decision did not comply with the regulations of the Treaty on the European Union, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and the EU - Ukraine Association Agreement, or other EU gas market rules. They said the decision would have a "serious and negative impact on the security, stability and competitiveness of gas supplies to Poland."

The court has ruled that the EC must present detailed explanations for the proposed way of allocating capacity and it asked PGNiG Supply & Trading to submit an in-depth analysis of the EC decision's impact on the security and competitiveness of gas supplies to Poland.

Citing Russian news agency Interfax, on December 26, PGNiG said Gazprom had used as much as 81% of Opal, breaching the EC’s 2009 ruling as well as the court’s decision of December 23, 2016 that suspended the execution of the EC's decision of October 28, 2016.

In a statement December 27, PGNiG CEO Piotr Wozniak said: “Gazprom, by using faits accomplis, is striving for complete dominance on the German, and subsequently central European, gas markets, as well as the termination of gas transit through Ukraine." He said his company and others in the region looked to the EC for protection from any violation by Gazprom of co7mpetition law and the third energy package regulations.

PGNiG CEO Piotr Wozniak (Source: Company)

"However, the EC has been constantly refusing to publish the Opal decision for the past two months. It isn't proper that in the EU, in the 21st century, gas consumers must pursue their rights on the basis of shreds of information from EC press releases. The decision of the EU's Court of Justice proves that neither Gazprom nor the EC can act aside from the regulations on transparency and competition on the EU's internal market. PGNiG will undertake any measures available to ensure stability and security of gas supplies to Polish consumers, even if it means a conflict with the EU institutions.”

 The EC has the right to keep information relating to its decisions confidential in some cases.


William Powell