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EC delay with OPAL hits Germany — Wintershall

March 13, 2014, 19:39 UTC+3 KASSEL
Delay in the European Commission’s decision-making on wider access to OPAL pipeline for the Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom will primarily hit Germany, CEO of Wintershall Rainer Seele said
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Rainer Seele

Rainer Seele

© ITAR-TASS/Alexandra Mudrats

KASSEL, March 13. /ITAR-TASS/. Delay in the European Commission’s (EC) decision-making on wider access to OPAL pipeline for the Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom will primarily hit Germany, CEO of the German oil and gas company Wintershall Rainer Seele told journalists.

Seele said he was disappointed about the absence of any decision on OPAL and did not link the delay to the events around Ukraine but said that Guenther Oettinger, the European Commissioner for Energy, should know well this hits Germany.

“We have made multibillion investments and do not understand why we should tolerate that only 50% of the pipeline is being used for the fourth year in row,” said Seele. Yet, he added, this situation would not affect the company’s estimated financial results.

As reported earlier, the EC delayed decision on Gazprom’s wider access to OPAL due on March 10. Decision has already been postponed twice. The EC declined to set the next date. The Russian Ministry of Energy has not received any official response yet and is not going to lay claims but “will track the situation”.

Late last year Gazprom requested the EC for an exemption from the Third Energy Package for OPAL. According to the document, Gazprom is obliged to reserve up to 50% of OPAL for transportation of independent suppliers’ gas, though this pipeline system with a throughput of 36 billion cubic meters a year is filled from the Nord Stream pipeline. To avert financial losses, Russia and Germany demand justified exemptions for OPAL and a wider use of the pipeline for Gazprom’s needs.

In January 2014, following the Russia-EU summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia and the EU had agreed on 100% exploitation of OPAL.

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