EU's top court overrules decision on Gazprom's access to Opal pipeline

EU's top court overrules decision on Gazprom's access to Opal pipeline

The European Court of Justice has overruled a European Commission decision that approved Russia’s Gazprom gaining more capacity on the Opal gas pipeline through Germany, Poland’s state-run news agency said on Tuesday, Reuters reports.

In 2016, the European Commission raised a cap on Gazprom’s use of the Opal pipeline, which carries gas from the Nord Stream pipeline that crosses the Baltic Sea to customers in Germany and the Czech Republic.

Polish state-run gas firm PGNiG took legal action against that decision.

“The court has agreed with our arguments,” Polish Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski told reporters on Tuesday.

As UralSib senior analyst Alexei Kokin noted in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaz, if Poland really manages to carry out all the necessary procedures and prevent Gazprom from filling 100% of OPAL's capacity, then this pipeline will most likely simply remain underused - no other gas will be supplied through it.

“There are no suppliers who could fill up volumes that Gazprom will be forced to release - if it really happens. OPAL was built specifically for the needs of Gazprom as the only supplier of this route, and it's very unlikely that someone will replace it. Norwegian gas, for example, has its own supply channels, and there is no forecast for significant increase in its production," he said.

Gazprom still has a chance to reverse this decision of the European Court. “There will be an appeal, the decision can still be appealed to a higher court, the trial is still pending. But if the appeal cannot be won, then it will first hit Gazprom’s German partners, since it will reduce their capabilities of using internal German gas pipeline for pumping Russian gas,” Alexei Kokin added.