Nord Stream 2 appeals rejection of gas rules challenge

  • Market: Natural gas
  • 07/29/20

The developer of Gazprom's planned 55bn m³/yr Nord Stream 2 pipeline has filed an appeal against the EU general court's dismissal of the developer's challenge to the revised 2019 EU gas directive.

The general court had rejected in May actions brought by Nord Stream 2 and the operator of Gazprom's parallel 55bn m³/yr Nord Stream 1 pipeline to annul the revised 2019 gas directive as inadmissible.

Nord Stream 2 filed its appeal with the European Court of Justice (ECJ) yesterday.

The general court had dismissed the firms' case as "inadmissible on procedural grounds, but had not rejected the claim on substance", Nord Stream 2 said. But the developer "does not share the procedural arguments of the court and maintains that the amendment of the gas directive constitutes an unlawful discrimination", it told Argus.

The general court had previously said that because the directive was only given effect by domestic legislation transposing it into German law, the two firms did not have the legal standing to challenge the law at an EU level, and that their challenges to the rules should be made through the German legal system. But the court had said that Nord Stream 2 could challenge the regulatory authority's decision before a German court, which in turn could put questions to the ECJ on the validity of the amending directive.

The amendment to the gas directive extended EU rules on third-party access, unbundling and tariffs to include offshore parts of new import pipelines that were not completed by May 2019, originate in non-EU countries and fall within territorial boundaries subject to national jurisdiction.

Pipelines that were completed before the amendment entered into force — including Nord Stream 1 — were eligible for derogation. Nord Stream 2 has repeatedly argued that the amended gas directive is "unlawfully discriminating" by applying in practice only to Nord Stream 2.

The developer is also seeking to overturn the effects of the amended directive separately, under the Energy Charter Treaty. And the firm is challenging German regulator Bnetza's rejection of a request for derogation from the amended EU gas directive, although the Dusseldorf higher regional court hearing the case is unlikely to hold first hearings until 2021.


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