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German court lifts provisional measures limiting Gazprom access to OPAL pipeline

July 28, 19:38 UTC+3 BERLIN

In October 2016, Gazprom managed to agree with the European Commission on using 100% of OPAL capacity

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BERLIN, July 28. /TASS/. Higher Regional Court of Dusseldorf has lifted provisional measures which limited Russia’s Gazprom’s access to the OPAL gas pipeline following Poland’s claim. The relevant statement has been published on the court’s website.

"The decision dated December 30, 2016, which obliged Germany’s Federal Network Agency (for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railway) to suspend the disputed agreement of November 28, 2011, between the agency and the parties involved, has been canceled," the document said.

Earlier in July, the European Court of Justice lifted the provisional measures that were taken as part of Poland’s claim.

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%.

Exclusion of 50% OPAL capacities from the Third Energy Package gave Gazprom the right to get quotas for another 40%. In December 2016, Gazprom began to increase the pipeline throughput by purchasing capacities at auctions.

However, Polish energy company 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.

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.

Earlier PGNiG President Piotr Wozniak said that the European court had banned auctions for additional capacities of OPAL pipeline until March 2018. He added that the court in Dusseldorf took similar decision.

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.

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