10:22 16.09.2019

Ukraine, Slovakia's GTS ready to replace OPAL services for Gazprom – Naftogaz head

2 min read
Ukraine, Slovakia's GTS ready to replace OPAL services for Gazprom – Naftogaz head

 The gas transmission systems of Ukraine and Slovakia are ready to help Russia's Gazprom with delivery of the required volumes of Russian gas to Europe, replacing the services of the OPAL pipeline, Chairman of Executive Board of Naftogaz Ukrainy Andriy Kobolev has said.

"If Gazprom wants to continue delivering these volumes of gas to where they went via OPAL, but in a shorter way, the Ukrainian and Slovakian gas transmission systems can easily do this. As they did before Gazprom gained exclusive access to OPAL," he wrote on his Facebook page.

The head of Naftogaz also welcomed the decision of the European court, which "restored justice and defended competition."

"We are pleased that the European Court recognized the importance of the principle of solidarity, and the German regulator promptly responded to the court's decision," Kobolev said.

As reported, the European Commission agreed in 2009 to remove OPAL pipeline from EU regulation by demanding a gas release auction for the Czech market (gas sales in accordance with the conditions established by the regulator). Gazprom refused to fulfill this condition, and 50% of OPAL's facilities were frozen. In 2016, the European Commission agreed to reduce the reserve to 10%, and put the remaining capacity at an open auction. The decision of the EC was appealed by Poland's PGNiG and its government. In 2017, the courts rejected the claims of the Polish side, but in September 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in favor of the Polish plaintiffs, taking into account the principle of solidarity in matters of energy supply.

Following the court decision, the German Federal Network Agency banned Gazprom from using the OPAL's additional reserved capacities, and companies from selling them in the future. Accordingly, in particular, a transport capacities auction for October, scheduled for September 16, cannot be held.

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