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Gazprom expects reasonable decision on access to Opal

VIENNA, January 24. /TASS/. Russia’s top gas producer Gazprom expects the European Court to deliver a balanced decision on Poland’s request regarding access to OPAL gas pipeline, Gazprom Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev said Tuesday.

"Hopefully, the European Court will take a reasonable decision," he said, adding that "transit supplies via Poland were not affected."

Meanwhile, Gazprom board chairman Viktor Zubkov said the gas pipeline had been groundlessly blocked.

"I’d like to mention the decision of European regulators to unblock OPAL gas pipeline. Its capacities had been groundlessly blocked for several years. The relevance of the decision is demonstrated by the fact that already at the beginning of this year Nord Stream was utilized to the greatest possible extent, though previously experts said a pipeline via the Baltics was not needed, and they use similar arguments against Nord Stream 2 now," Zubkov said. He added that "the project is absolutely commercial and all (Gazprom's) efforts are aimed at raising the efficiency of supplies."

As was reported earlier Gazprom asked to join it as a concerned party to the case on Polish PGNIG’s claim against the European Commission (EC) decision to expand Gazprom rights to fill the OPAL gas pipeline. The EC said it is convinced that the decision on OPAL pipeline is legitimate, fully complies with the norms of the EU Third Energy Package and is based on sound rules, procedures and terms in the framework of applied regulations and the situation on the market.

In December 2016, head of PGNiG Piotr Wozniak said at a press conference in Warsaw that the European court had upheld the company’s claim on December 4 where it disputed the decision of the European Commission to allow Gazprom to increase gas pumping to the EU via the Nord Stream pipeline.

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.