The Gazprom subsidiary involved in constructing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has lost a court battle over exclusive access to the infrastructure, according to a ruling by Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court on Wednesday.
Nord Stream 2 AG, a Swiss-registered company, was seeking an exemption from the provisions of the EU Gas Directive adopted by the bloc in 2009. The set of rules designed to boost competition in the European energy market prohibits a single company from exclusive use of its own pipeline to transport the gas it produces.
According to the ruling, Russia’s Gazprom might be forced to cap usage at 50% of the pipeline’s capacity, letting an independent supplier use the rest, in order to avoid breaching EU law.
The regulation had previously been applied only to sales of gas inside the bloc. However, the EU approved new amendments to the rules three years ago, feeding speculation that the change was a direct attempt to hinder the implementation of the huge project.
The $12-billion pipeline aims to increase annual supplies of Russian natural gas to Germany and other European countries by 55 billion cubic meters. The pipeline running via the Baltic Sea is set to enhance Berlin’s energy security and lower gas prices by making the process less dependent on third-party countries transiting the fuel.
Construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is reportedly nearing completion. Earlier, the company in charge of the project announced plans to start delivering gas through the pipeline by the end of the year.
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