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News // Transportation and storage

Opal regulator expects german court to back EC

10 January 2017 , 12:06William PowellNeftegaz.RU835

German networks regulator Bundesnetzagentur is expecting the Dusseldorf court to uphold a decision last year by the European Commission that enabled  greater use of capacity in the Opal pipeline, its spokesman told NGW on January 9, 2017.


This positive view was based on the court's reading of the case, he said, although there is no statutory deadline for the court to take the decision.

The operator of the Opal pipeline, Gascade, has a similar view telling NGW January 9. «We are confident that the final decision of the summary proceeding will soon allow us to continue to implement the settlement agreement signed in November 2016.»


The EC decision was successfully challenged in the European Court of Justice by Polish gas company PGNiG late last year, and the matter has now gone to a court in Dusseldorf.

The Opal gas line was flowing at the equivalent of a record 36bn m³/yr on January 4, Gascade told NGW January 9, meaning that the auctions that took place before the limit of 50% was reimposed were still valid.

NGW incorrectly reported January 6 that the auctions results would be invalid. But in those auctions all the capacity was sold, NGW understands, which explains the increased use of Opal.

As those auction results remain legal, January flows will continue at full.


There will not, however, be any more auctions unless the court approves the EC decision regarding a higher capacity rate.

Gascade told: «The maximum daily flow of the last weeks was 1,070,484,656 kWh/day January 4 2017. This is around 103.5mn m³/day (at 20°C) or, if you consider this flow ongoing for 365 days straight, around 36bn m³/yr.»

The CEO of Gazprom, Alexei Miller, said that Nord Stream, which supplies gas to Opal, had exceeded its nameplate capacity, shipping the equivalent of 60bn m³/yr on three days: January 4-6. That is 10% above the nameplate capacity.


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