Ukraine hopes to join Poland in challenging EU pipeline decision

The Opal pipeline. [Opal pipeline website]

Ukrainian state energy company Naftogaz is seeking to join Polish gas firm PGNiG in a court case challenging the European Union’s decision to give Russia’s Gazprom more access to the Opal gas pipeline in Germany.

Naftogaz said today (2 March) it had asked permission from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to intervene in the case initiated by state-controlled PGNiG at the end of last year.

In October, the European Commission decided to lift a cap on Gazprom’s use of Opal, which carries gas from the Nord Stream pipeline under the Baltic Sea to customers in Germany and the Czech Republic.

Gazprom gets greater access to Germany's Opal gas pipeline

Germany’s energy regulator and Gazprom have agreed terms of a deal giving the subsidiaries of the Russian group greater access to the Opal gas pipeline, which the European Union approved a month ago.

Poland, which imports most of the gas it consumes from Russia, said the decision threatened gas supplies to Central and Eastern Europe and would strengthen Gazprom’s dominant position in the region.

Gazprom cuts flows via Opal gas pipeline after Polish challenge upheld

Russian gas deliveries to Germany via the Opal pipeline fell by around 30% today (1 February) after Poland successfully blocked a deal giving Gazprom a bigger share of the pipeline’s capacity.

“Joining the case initiated by PGNiG will enable Naftogaz to present additional arguments and gain access to the case files. The request by Naftogaz is now awaiting consideration in the court,” Naftogaz said in a statement.

It also said the Commission’s decision could threaten the stability of gas supplies to Ukraine because of possible of gas flow interruptions from Poland.

The ECJ has already suspended the executive’s decision on Opal.

In December, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Ukraine and Poland would act jointly to block projects that could result in Gazprom gaining greater access to the European gas market by bypassing Ukraine.

Sefcovic says Opal pipeline controversy ‘very technical and complex’

European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič warned today (30 January) against over-simplifying how much capacity Gazprom could use of the Opal pipeline, which carries gas via Nord Stream under the Baltic Sea to Germany and the Czech Republic.

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