Gas markets: Commission reinforces market conditions in revised exemption decision on OPAL pipeline

Author (Corporate)
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Series Details IP/16/3562 (28.10.16)
Publication Date 28/10/2016
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The European Commission adopted on the 28 October 2016 stricter exemption conditions for the operation of the OPAL gas pipeline, which connected Nord Stream 1 in Northern Germany with the gas infrastructure in the Czech Republic. The Commission said it wanted to ensure properly functioning liquid and competitive gas markets in Europe, and the decision followed these guidelines.

A competitive EU gas market where energy companies can trade freely and have easy access to pipelines was essential for ensuring secure and affordable supplies to all EU citizens and was a priority under the Energy Union strategy.

In effect the decision would allow Russian supplier Gazprom to send a greater amount of gas along the Opal Pipeline from Germany from the Nord Stream Pipeline I to the Czech Republic.

In parallel, commentators noted the Gazprom officials had recently met European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager to discuss a possible settlement of the separate competition case in which Gazprom was accused of using its market power to harm Central and Eastern European gas customers. There was also a continuing debate concerning the construction of a Nord Stream II pipeline

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Related Links
European Commission: Energy > Topics > Markets and consumers > Wholesale market > Access infrastructure and exemptions
ESO: Background information: Gazprom’s evolving strategy in a new commercial and political context: how should the EU react?
ESO: Background information: EU, Russia reach ‘political’ deal on OPAL gas pipeline: sources
Sputnik International, 29.10.16: These are Reasons Behind EU’s Change of Heart Towards Russia’s Gazprom
Sputnik International: Tag: Opal Pipeline
Politico, 28.10.16: EU grants Russian gas giant go-ahead to expand in Europe, politics aside
ESO: Background information: Despite Ukraine and legal disputes, the EU is unlikely to break from its reliance on Russian gas imports
Politico, 26.10.16: Gazprom to make settlement offer in antitrust case
EurActiv, 03.11.16: Gazprom says EU not needed as mediator for gas sales to Ukraine
EurActiv, 29.11.16: Gazprom gets greater access to Germany’s Opal gas pipeline
EUObserver, 06.12.16: Polish firm sues EU Commission over Gazprom privileges
EurActiv, 19.12.16: Poland appeals to European Court over Opal pipeline decision
EurActiv, 30.01.17: Sefcovic says Opal pipeline controversy ‘very technical and complex’

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