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Nord Stream 2 pipeline not exempt from EU competition rules

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The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is not exempt from EU competition rules, the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court has ruled.

The court, which is responsible for energy industry law proceedings, rejected Nord Stream 2 AG’s complaint on 25 August. This means that the Nord Stream 2 gas connection pipeline is subject to German regulation by the Federal Network Agency. Whether, when, and under what conditions the pipeline will be put into operation is not the subject of the court’s decision, Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court confirmed.

Nord Stream 2 AG, founded by Gazprom, had applied for the not yet completely laid part of the gas pipeline running in German territory to be exempt from regulation. That would be possible if the gas connection had been completed before 23 May 2019, the court said.

The Federal Network Agency rejected the application for exemption because the pipeline was structurally incomplete on the reporting date. In contrast, the court said, the complainant wanted it to focus on the fact that a final, irreversible investment decision had been made on the reporting date.

Nord Stream 2 can appeal the decision to Germany’s Federal Supreme Court. According to a report by euronews, Gazprom said it would evaluate the court’s verdict and “inform about the next steps in due course”.

“Nord Stream 2 AG maintains that the company is being discriminated against in an unlawful manner, as all other import pipelines that invested before the new rules came into force are eligible for such an exemption under the amended Gas Directive,” Gazprom said.