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European Commission halts procedure of OPAL pipeline exemption from Third Energy Package

December 23, 2014, 16:22 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
Russian energy giant Gazprom will reapply to the European Commission for using 100% of the capacities of the Opal gas pipeline, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said
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© EPA/FILIP SINGER

BRUSSELS, December 23. /TASS/. The European Commission has suspended the procedure on exemption from the Third Energy Package for the OPAL gas pipeline, a representative for the EU executive branch told TASS on Tuesday.

Russian energy giant Gazprom has not approved the proposal to extend the deadline on conditions of the agreement with Germany’s Federal Network Agency. As a result, major changes on OPAL’s exemption from the Third Energy Package have become invalid.

The initial decision that Gazprom can use 50% of the pipeline’s capacities remains in force, including additional conditions which the European Commission demanded upon the procedure in 2009.

Russian energy giant Gazprom will reapply to the European Commission for using 100% of the capacities of the Opal gas pipeline, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said earlier on Tuesday.

“The entire procedure will be undertaken with the new composition of the European Commission,” the energy minister said.

Under the rules of the Third Energy Package, introduced in 2009, Russia’s Gazprom is required to reserve up to 50% of the OPAL gas pipeline’s capacities for gas transportation by independent gas suppliers.

Gazprom turned to the European Commission in late 2013 with a request to exclude the OPAL gas pipeline from the rules of the Third Energy Package, which requires the separation of gas production, transportation and sale to prevent gas suppliers from dominating the infrastructure.

The OPAL gas pipeline, which has an annual capacity of 36 billion cubic meters and runs along Germany’s eastern border, provides a link from Russia’s Nord Stream gas pipe running on the Baltic Sea bed to Europe’s existing gas transport networks. The OPAL pipeline pumps Russian natural gas across Germany and further to the Czech Republic.

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