Court Rejects PGniG's Attempt to Limit Gazprom's Use of Opal Pipeline
A German court on Friday confirmed it had rejected a request by Polish energy company PGniG and its German subsidiary for an injunction to block Russia's Gazprom from increasing its use of the Opal pipeline in eastern Germany.
The case is part of a long-running dispute over the routes for transporting Russian gas to Europe.
The Duesseldorf higher regional court said in a statement to Reuters that relevant applications had been rejected on Oct. 11, confirming an earlier statement from pipeline operator Opal Gastransport.
The court threw out detailed requests to stop or limit full capacity auctions on Opal, without elaborating on stakeholders or reasons.
An Opal Gastransport spokeswoman said: "I can confirm that these appeals were completely rejected and that Opal Gastransport can offer its capacity fully to the market."
Gazprom and PGNiG declined to comment on Friday.
The 36 billion cubic metre (bcm) per year Opal pipeline carries Russian gas arriving via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline across the Baltic Sea to continental European markets.
The gas goes into underground storage in northeastern Germany or travels down to the Czech Republic.
The Duesseldorf court in July ruled in favour of Gazprom after two Polish firms sought curbs on Gazprom's Opal use citing competition grounds.
The court at that stage said it had found no evidence of serious harm for the plaintiffs. Final, wider rulings are due from the Duesseldorf court and the Luxembourg-based EU General Court likely in 2018 and 2019.
In addition to the Opal pipeline, Poland is also concerned about Russian plans to double its gas export capacity to Germany via its Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which bypasses Poland. Poland and also Ukraine fear this could reduce the amount of Russian gas transiting their countries.
The European Commission has also encouraged member states to curb their reliance on Russian energy in the wake of Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Opal offers monthly and annual capacities on the PRISMA capacity auction websites, where the names of bidders or the size of their allocations are not identified.
Reporting by Vera Eckert, Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow and Agnieszka Barteczko in Warsaw