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The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany will have to obey European Union regulations that separate owners of the pipelines from suppliers of gas, a German court ruled on Wednesday, dealing a blow to Russian gas giant Gazprom who sought to have EU rules waived for the controversial pipeline.
Under the EU Gas Directive, pipeline operators in the European Union must ensure fair competition by allowing access to third parties.
Nord Stream AG, the consortium behind the pipeline, has said that extending the EU directive to a pipeline from a third country (Russia) is discriminatory and that the revision of that Gas Directive from 2019 was specifically designed to delay or stop Nord Stream 2.
In a ruling on Wednesday, the Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court upheld a previous decision of a German regulator to impose the EU Gas Directive on Nord Stream 2.
Technically, the court’s decision would not prevent the start of the flow of gas—which Gazprom says will take place as early as this year—but the Russian-led pipeline owner may need to restructure and to hold auctions for third-party suppliers for the gas that would flow through Nord Stream 2.
“Nord Stream 2 AG maintains that the company is being unlawfully discriminated [against],” a spokesperson for the company told The Moscow Times.
“The rejection of Nord Stream 2 AG’s application for a derogation exposes the discriminating effect of the amended EU Gas Directive,” the spokesperson added.
“Nord Stream 2 AG company has taken note of the court ruling and will assess it. We will inform about future steps in due time,” a source in the company’s press service told Russian news agency TASS.
Just last week, Gazprom said that Nord Stream 2 might supply 5.6 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe this year. Nord Stream 2 AG told Reuters last Thursday that construction was 99 percent complete.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.
Why this rule didn’t apply to Russia’s gas pipeline network which is totally owned by Russia and which has been supplying gas to the EU for more than 15 years. Nord Stream 2 is no different from the current Russian pipeline network.
I would hazard a guess who is behind this move. Poland and the Baltic countries are known for their anti-Russia stance and are amenable to incitation by the United States.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London