The European Commission enables increased use of the OPAL pipeline by Gazprom Cover Image

The European Commission enables increased use of the OPAL pipeline by Gazprom
The European Commission enables increased use of the OPAL pipeline by Gazprom

Author(s): Agata Loskot-Strachota
Subject(s): Energy and Environmental Studies, Economic policy, International relations/trade
Published by: Ośrodek Studiów Wschodnich im. Marka Karpia
Keywords: OPAL; European Commission; Gazprom
Summary/Abstract: In response to a request by the German energy regulator, on 28 October the European Commission announced its decision setting out the rules for increased utilisation by the Russian gas company Gazprom (and possibly other companies) of the onshore leg of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, i.e. the OPAL pipeline. This decision raises a series of questions as to its content, its publication procedure, the context of its adoption and its potential consequences. These doubts are aggravated by the lack of clarity of information regarding both the OPAL pipeline itself and the initial rules governing its utilisation (including its exemption from the third party access rule – TPA), and the present decision by the European Commission. As a consequence, the Commission’s decision is provoking conflicting reactions. On the one hand, it is being received (for example by the Polish and the Ukrainian side) as one that enables Gazprom to increase its access to the European market, which could compromise the security of gas supplies to Central Europe and the transit of gas via Ukraine. On the other hand, it is being interpreted as a decision which does not meet the expectations of Gazprom and the OPAL pipeline operator, which sought increased opportunities to book the pipeline’s capacity in the long term. Therefore, it is not known if and when the rules concerning the of OPAL as proposed by the EC will be implemented and, as a consequence, whether the EC’s decision will put an end to the process of negotiating the rules for the German pipeline’s use that has been ongoing for many years.

  • Page Count: 7
  • Publication Year: 2016
  • Language: English