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Gazprom waits for decision of German regulator on using 100% of OPAL pipeline capacities

October 06, 2015, 11:42 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG
The OPAL natural gas pipeline is a land extension of the offshore Nord Stream pipeline. Its capacity is 36 bln cubic meters
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© ITAR-TASS/Marina Lystseva

ST. PETERSBURG, October 6. /TASS/. Gazprom has applied for using 100% of the OPAL pipeline capacities, Deputy Minister of Energy Anatoly Yanovsky told journalists Tuesday.

According to him, the company is currently waiting for a decision of the German regulator

"As far as I know, Gazprom should not apply [for using 100% of OPAL capacities - TASS], because the application was already submitted. Therefore, this application needs to be approved, and it depends on the German regulator and from the European Commission," Yanovsky said.

As TASS reported earlier, in September the German Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railway, (Bundesnetzagentur) told TASS that Gazprom and its European partners have not presented their request. "No request for the OPAL gas pipeline capacity was presented," the representative of the Agency said.

The European Commission still has not granted Gazprom permission to use 100% of OPAL capacities.

Russia and the European Commission discussed the Nord Stream-2 and Turkish Stream projects at a meeting in Vienna in September. Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said he was confident Nord Stream-2 would be in line with the European laws, obviously referring to the Third Energy Package.

However he said the issue of loading the OPAL gas pipeline [the mainland extension of Nord Stream across Germany - TASS] had not yet been settled but could be resolved soon.

"We have also informed the European Commission about our negotiations with Turkey on the Turkish Stream and discussed possible supplies via this route," Miller said.

In April, 2015 Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that Russia resumed talks on the Opal pipeline status. "In fact, we’re carrying talks over again, from the position stated back in October 2013. In March, Gazprom applied to the German regulator on receiving 100% access to Opal," Novak said.

The OPAL natural gas pipeline is a land extension of the offshore Nord Stream pipeline. Its capacity is 36 bln cubic meters.

Russia’s gas giant Gazprom and its Germany’s Wintershall have been asking the European Commission for several years to free the OPAL pipeline from the restrictions of the Third Energy Package. The companies want to keep 100% of OPAL’s capacity under their control. Until recently the European Commission was ready to grant Gazprom not more than 50% of the pipeline’s capacity.

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