January 17, 2014 15:53
European Commission to finalize OPAL exemptions from Third Energy Package by early Feb (Part 2)
MOSCOW. Jan 17 (Interfax) - The European Commission may approve exemptions from the Third Energy Package for the OPAL gas pipeline, which is fed by the Nord Stream pipeline, at the end of January or beginning of February, Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky told journalists.
The issue was discussing during Energy Minister Alexander Novak's meeting with European Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger in Moscow on Friday morning.
"It was stated at the talks with Oettinger that there is a certain technical procedure that will be completed at the end of January or the beginning of February, and the issue will be settled in the strictest accordance with the law," Yanovsky said, adding that he was referring to a favorable outcome.
A statement from the Energy Ministry confirms that "Oettinger informed the energy minister that internal procedures concerning the European Commission's decision on exemptions for the OPAL project are being carried out."
The European Commission had demanded that a portion of capacity on OPAL, the eastern extension of the Nord Stream pipeline, be reserved "for third parties." But OPAL is supplied entirely with Russian gas from Nord Stream and serves no third parties, he said, adding that such constraints on its use would result in higher transportation costs, on offshore and onshore routes.
Commenting on interactions between Russian and EU officials regarding the European Commission's antimonopoly investigation into Gazprom (MOEX: GAZP) operations, Yanovsky said that "a dialog is underway" and pointed out that he held a meeting with European Commissioner for Competition Joaquin Almunia in December.
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