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Polish gas monopoly contests Opal decision in European court

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 06.12.2016 08:34
A subsidiary of Polish gas monopoly PGNiG has submitted a lawsuit to the European Court of Justice, claiming a recent decision on the Opal pipeline infringed EU rules.
PGNiG chairman Piotr Woźniak during a press conference on Monday. Photo: PAP/Tomasz GzellPGNiG chairman Piotr Woźniak during a press conference on Monday. Photo: PAP/Tomasz Gzell

The lawsuit was filed on Monday by Supply & Trading GmbH – a company wholly owned by PGNiG.

“We do not want the decision of the European Commission [to allow Gazprom to increase the use of the Opal gas pipeline] to come into force in any shape or form,” Piotr Woźniak, chairman of PGNiG, told a press conference on Monday.

The Polish company also filed a motion to suspend the decision.

This is the first legal action that PGNiG intends to take in this case against the European Commission and the German Bundesnetzagentur regulator, said the PAP news agency.

On 28 October, Brussels lifted a cap on Russian gas giant Gazprom's use of the Opal pipeline, the land branch of the Nord Stream line, a decision Poland said it would contest.

The Commission’s decision, which will be valid until 2033, means that Russia will be able to use 80 percent of the capacity of the Opal pipeline, which is part of the Nord Stream Baltic Sea pipeline connecting Russia and Germany, bypassing Poland and other countries in the region, including Ukraine.

'Decision needs to revised'

"We believe this decision needs to be revised, although we at the same time understand that this step could be very difficult and painful. We are committed to defending our common interests, using [...] all appropriate legal means," said a recent joint statement by Polish President Andrzej Duda and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko.

The Opal pipeline takes gas to customers in Germany and the Czech Republic. Gazprom currently uses 50 percent of the line’s capacity.

The European Commission said its move would improve the competitiveness of the market. (rg)

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