EU court delivers Nord Stream 2 further blow

Europe’s second highest court has rejected a challenge by the operators of the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines against EU gas rules, saying it was up individual member states to enforce them, news wires repported. The Nord Stream 2 operating company had said the EU rules, which require separate companies to build, operate and own pipelines, would weaken the basis for funding the project, and turned to the courts to annul a relevant EU gas directive amendment adopted last year.

But last Wednesday the General Court dismissed the challenge, saying the directive amendment did not directly affect the pipeline and responsibility for enforcing the relevant EU law lay with the member states. “Concerning both Nord Stream 2 and Nord Stream, the General Court finds that they (the companies) are not directly concerned,” the court said in a statement.

Nord Stream 2 said it was analysing the ruling and had the option to file an appeal within two months. “The court has not rejected our claim on substance, in particular that the amendment of the Gas Directive constitutes an unlawful discrimination of Nord Stream 2. Therefore, we maintain our claim,” it said in a statement.

Few days ago Germany’s energy regulator declined to grant a waiver of the directives for the section that runs through German territory. Without the waiver, the Gazprom-owned project would have to comply with EU third-party access, unbundling and tariff transparency rules for the section in German waters, once it becomes operational.

Nord Stream 2 is wholly owned by the Russia’s Gazprom, and is responsible for the planning, construction and operation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is expected to open around early 2021 after numerous delays. Fifty percent of the funding is provided by Germany’s Uniper and BASF’s Wintershall unit, as well as Anglo-Dutch oil major Royal Dutch Shell, Austria’s OMV and France’s Engie.


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