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Nord Stream 2 Has Until September 15 To Justify An Appeal Against The German Regulator

Nord Stream 2 Has Until September 15 To Justify An Appeal Against The German Regulator

Nord Stream 2 has until September 15 this year to justify its appeal against the decision of the Federal grid Agency of Germany (the regulator) to refuse to exempt Nord stream 2 from the requirements of the updated EU Gas Directive, according to TASS representative of the Higher land court in Dusseldorf.

"So far, the complaint does not contain any justification at all. As of today, the applicant [Nord Stream 2] has until September 15, 2020," the court noted. The representative explained that after this, the German regulator will be invited to express its position. In addition, the participation of third parties whose interests are affected by the appeal is not excluded.

"I can only speculate about the specific course of the proceedings at the moment," the representative of the court said. At the same time, he noted that he considers it "extremely unlikely" that the first hearings can take place this year.

The court in Dusseldorf doubts that the first hearing on the complaint of Nord Stream 2 against the German regulator will be held in 2020.

The representative explained that after this, the German regulator will be invited to express its position. Also, the participation of third parties whose interests are affected by the appeal is not excluded.

"The expected exchange of documents, of course, will take some time," the court stated. "I can only speculate about the specific course of the proceedings at the moment, because, as I said, the complaint does not contain any justification at all and enough time is allowed for this," the representative of the court said. He noted that he considers it "extremely unlikely" that the first hearings will be able to take place this year. "The Senate will set a date for the hearing only when all participants take the opportunity to present their position in writing and outline the disputed issues," he explained.

Last week, the court confirmed the receipt of an appeal from Nord Stream 2 AG against the decision of the Federal grid Agency of Germany on the construction of the Nord stream-2 gas pipeline. The claim is registered under the number VI-3 Kart 211/20 (V).

About the regulator's decision

On may 15, the Federal grid Agency of Germany refused to grant Nord Stream 2 an exemption from the requirements of the updated EU Gas Directive on the application dated January 10, 2020. The regulator believes that the Nord stream-2 gas pipeline did not meet the "completion of the project" criterion by May 23, 2019, according to the Federal law on the energy sector of Germany.

International legal experts, according to representatives of Nord Stream 2, confirmed that narrowing the definition of "completion of the project" to the conclusion of the physical construction of the pipeline would violate the protection of legitimate expectations and other fundamental rights in EU law, it would also contradict the constitutional guarantees of the basic law of Germany.

The operator believes that "the rejection of the Nord Stream 2 application shows the discriminatory effect of the amended EU Gas Directive". The company recalled that "Nord Stream 2 has previously filed a lawsuit to cancel the amendments to the Gas Directive in the General Court of the EU and is conducting arbitration proceedings under the Energy Charter Treaty."

Gas pipeline project

The Nord Stream 2 project involves the construction of two lines of a gas pipeline with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year from the Russian coast through the Baltic sea to Germany. By now, Nord stream 2 is 93% complete.

The halt in the project was since the end of December 2019, due to US sanctions, the Swiss company Allseas stopped work on the construction of the gas pipeline and withdrew its vessels. The head of Gazprom, Alexey Miller, said that the pipeline will be completed on its own. In January 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that by the end of this year or in the first quarter of next year, the work will be completed, and the gas pipeline will be put into operation.

Following the amendments to the EU Gas Directive, all rules of European law must apply not only to land-based gas pipelines but also to offshore gas pipelines from third countries. The requirements, in particular, involve the separation of gas production and transportation activities, meaning that a mining company cannot simultaneously own the pipeline that delivers its gas. Another requirement is access to the pipeline of other gas suppliers. That means that Gazprom will be able to use only half of the capacity of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

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