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"Leads to market distortion": the German parliament is unhappy with the decision of the EU court to restrict the use of OPAL by Gazprom


The decision of the European Court, according to which Gazprom can use no more than 50% of the capacity of the OPAL pipeline, leads to market distortion and higher fuel prices for the EU countries. This was stated by Bundestag deputy Robbie Schlund. In his opinion, this step is intended to artificially reduce the volume of transit of Russian gas and make American LNG more competitive. According to experts, if the German authorities take a similar position on this issue, the Russian side will have more chances to achieve a review of the decision of the EU court.

The court ruling, which limits Gazprom’s ability to use the OPAL pipeline’s facilities, has political implications. This RIA Novosti said the chairman of the German-Russian parliamentary group, deputy from the party "Alternative for Germany" Robbie Schlund.

“Instead of justice and equality in the liberal market, the decision of the EU court unequivocally leads to market distortion and higher cost of energy for European partners,” Schlund said.

In his opinion, the ruling of the European Court testifies to the intention to make American liquefied natural gas (LNG) more competitive by artificially reducing the volume of transit of Russian fuel and increasing its price. He emphasized that Alternative for Germany supports trunk pipelines from the Russian Federation (Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2), since their use is in line with national interests.

“We need constant gas supplies from Russia for the safety of our population and our economic engine in Germany,” the German deputy explained.

On September 10, an EU court upheld the Polish lawsuit and annulled the decision of the European Commission on October 28, 2016, according to which Gazprom had the right to use the OPAL pipeline at almost full capacity. On Saturday, September 14, the decree entered into force. From now on, the Russian concern has the right to use no more than 50% of the gas pipeline capacity.

The court explained its decision by the fact that the European Commission, giving Gazprom the opportunity to use additional OPAL capacities, allegedly violated the "principle of energy solidarity." The Permanent Representative of Russia to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, noted that such a formulation raises questions, since Nord Stream-1 during the construction was declared by the European Union as a “project of pan-European interest”.

“Therefore, if SP-1 remains a project of pan-European interest, it is unclear how the use of gas coming from it to the local German network OPAL may violate EU energy solidarity,” Interfax quoted Chizhov as saying.

OPAL connects Nord Stream with the gas transmission system of Central and Western Europe. Its design capacity is 36.5 billion cubic meters per year. The construction of the pipeline cost about € 1 billion and was completed in 2011.

“Impact on the economy of Europe”

The decision of the EU court, of course, was dictated by political rather than economic reasons, Igor Anansky, the first deputy chairman of the State Duma committee on energy, said in a conversation with RT. According to him, the statement of the German deputy from the Alternative for Germany party suggests that the Bundestag is aware of the injustice of such a move.

“A partial ban on passing through OPAL (Russian gas. - RT ) says two things. Firstly, this is an exclusively political decision, because the gas that is delivered through the pipe is cheaper ... Secondly, it’s a blow to the European economy, because the use of more expensive LNG from America leads to a rise in the cost of production and the lack of competitiveness of European goods ” , - the parliamentarian explained.

The deputy also expressed confidence that the Russian side will be able to achieve a review of the decision in court - and support for Germany can play an important role in this matter.

“I hope that the court to which Gazprom will go will hear that there is no political discrimination for Europe ... Gazprom is preparing documents to file a complaint, and everyone expects that a normal, market view will prevail,” added Anansky.

A statement by the representative of the Bundestag indicates that part of the German political elite is actively advocating for the lifting of restrictions, said Stanislav Mitrakhovich, an expert at the National Energy Security Fund, a lecturer at the Financial University under the Government of Russia.

“The limitation of OPAL deliveries could lead to an increase in gas prices to Europe, because it is not yet a fact that Gazprom will immediately load the Ukrainian GTS. And even if he downloads it, the news that there may be restrictions on supplies, even temporary ones, will still provoke a rise in gas prices, ”he said.

According to Mitrahovich, there is hope that the German authorities will take such a position that will allow for a review of the court decision on the OPAL gas pipeline.

“Limiting supplies is just a round of the game, not the whole game. There will be other rounds, there will be a contest of all these things in the EU court with the help of Germany. I do not exclude that a new decision may be made. We are dealing with a player who can change the rules during the game itself. I mean the EU, ”the expert added.

Source: russiart

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