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HOUSTON, March 7. /TASS/. The European court may bring a verdict on granting additional capacities of the OPAL gas pipeline to Gazprom before April, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Energy Union Maros Sefcovic told reporters on the sidelines of CERAWeek oil conference in Houston.
"Usually such issues are considered for several weeks. So, we will see what the court will decide before the next round of auctions (on distribution of the pipeline’s capacities - TASS), which, I think, will take place in March-April," he said.
In October 2016, Gazprom managed to agree with the European Commission on using 100% of OPAL capacity. Before that, the Russian company was allowed to use it only by 50%.
However, PGNiG and the Polish government appealed against the decision of the European Commission to the European Court. As a result the decision to expand the access of Gazprom to OPAL pipeline was suspended.
In December 2016, Gazprom began to increase the pipeline throughput by purchasing capacities at auctions. The auction for gas shipments was held in January but the auction in February was cancelled due to the court’s ban.
Before that, the European Commission stated that its decision to allow Gazprom to use 100% of OPAL capacity was legitimate and in full compliance with the norms of the EU Third Energy Package.
OPAL gas pipeline located in Germany, is an onshore extension of the Nord Stream gas pipeline. Its construction was completed in 2011. The pipeline capacity is 36 bln cubic meters of gas per year. Gas is supplied over OPAL to Germany up to the border with the Czech Republic.