Russia has suffered two major blows to its Nord Stream 2 (NS2) pipeline project, with one from a German regulator refusing an exemption for a gas tariff and then another from a European court which rejected the Russian appeal against the EU’s gas directive
Gazprom had requested an exemption for its gas tariff from the German regulator, but this was opposed by Poland on legal grounds as, according to the EU gas directive, any exemption only applies to pipelines built before May 2019, while NS2 is still under construction.
In the middle of May, the German regulator BnetzA ruled against the Russians, stating that Gazprom does not meet the criteria for an exemption stipulated in the EU’s gas directive.
On May 20, an EU court rejected an appeal by the NS1 and NS2 providers against the EU’s gas directive which makes providers work according to EU legislation and competition regulations.
The CEO of the Polish gas company PGNiG Jerzy Kwieciński expressed satisfaction that Poland’s stance and EU law had been upheld and that the NS2 project would not receive “privileged” treatment.
The decision of the German regulator implies that operators other than Gazprom will have to have access to the gas supplies and Gazprom tariffs will be under the control of the German regulator.
The NS1 and NS2 pipelines have been fiercely opposed by the Polish government.
Since the Trump administration came into office in 2017, the United States has backed Poland over its resistance to the NS pipelines.
Poland has invested in the construction of the Baltic Pipe and LNG gas imports from the US. This has enabled Poland to avoid having to sign any further agreements for gas supplies with the Russians.
The present contract Poland has with Gazprom ends in 2022.