SOCHI, February 27. /TASS/. Gazprom could beat its last year record for gas exports to Europe this year if it gets full access to the Opal gas pipeline, Viktor Zubkov, chairman of the company’s Board of Directors, said in an interview with TASS.
"We hope that the European countries, the companies that are interested in 100% use of Opal will bring their representatives to the court and we would also send Gazprom export, our company, to participate in the process. Of course, if the weather conditions are more appropriate, such as they were at the end of last year and in January, and Opal is accessible, this will allow us to reach the same volumes and maybe they will be even slightly bigger," he said.
Zubkov said that at the end of 2016 the European authorities "took absolutely right decision."
"The let Gazprom use 90% of Opal’s capacity. This is the only system of gas pipelines, which receives gas via the Nord Stream-1. Indeed, it made its possible to deliver gas and to load Opal by almost 100%. This was reflected in the results of the export of Gazprom which reached 10 billion cubic meters for the first time. It is important to note that this also made it possible to minimize risks for supply to other countries," 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.