The companies operating the gas links between Russia and Germany, Nord Stream AG and Nord Stream 2 AG, filed the complaint in November last year, seeking a partial annulment of the amendment to European gas transportation rules, known as the EU Gas Directive.
The legislature requires that the rules governing the European gas market must apply to all pipelines to and from third countries, under which separate companies must produce and transport natural gas.
This would force Russia’s Gazprom, which designed and paid for most of the project, to allow third parties to use half of the capacity of the pipeline after its launch at the end of this year. The Nord Stream 2 operators argued that the amended regulation would weaken the basis for funding of the project, which was launched long before the new EU rules came into force.
In its ruling on Wednesday, Europe’s second highest court said that the companies’ claims are “inadmissible,” adding that the directive was for member states to implement.
“Concerning both Nord Stream 2 AG and Nord Stream AG, the General Court finds that they are not directly concerned by the amending directive,” the General Court of the European Union declared.
The Swiss-based operator of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, designed to pump gas from Russia to Germany in parallel with the existing Nord Stream link via the Baltic Sea, told Russian media that it plans to file an appeal against the judgment. The law gives the company two months to challenge the decision.
“The court has not rejected our claim on substance, in particular that the amendment of the Gas Directive constitutes an unlawful discrimination of Nord Stream 2. Therefore, we maintain our claim,” it said in a statement.
After years of defending the project, Germany bowed to EU pressure. Last week, the country’s energy regulator ruled that Nord Stream 2 was not exempt from the amended EU Gas Directive. In a separate ruling on Wednesday, the regulator said that the already operating Nord Stream gas pipeline was granted a derogation from the same regulation for 20 years.
Since its launch, the Nord Stream pipeline has transported over 345 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe. Its sister project, Nord Stream 2, is set to add pump 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year, doubling the annual capacity of the two projects to 110 billion cubic meters.