EU Market Rules to Remain Largely

The World Trade Organization(WTO) ruled largely against Russia in the country’s bid to overturn the European Union’s gas market rules, Reuters reports.

The dispute was launched by Russia in 2014. The country claimed that the EU’s “Third Energy Package” and the EU’s energy policy overall unfairly restricted and discriminated against Russia’s gas export monopoly Gazprom.

Russia argued that the EU broke WTO rules by requiring the “unbundling” of gas transmission assets and production and supply assets, which effectively stopped Gazprom – long the major supplier of gas to Europe – from owning the pipelines through which it sent gas to the European market.

Russia said the EU had unfairly discriminated in favor of liquefied natural gas and upstream pipeline operators by exempting them from those unbundling requirements.

The panel of three WTO adjudicators ruled against Russia on those points.

However, they upheld Russia’s complaint about an unbundling exemption for Germany’s OPAL pipeline, granted on condition that Gazprom supplied no more than 50 percent of the gas in the pipeline.

The 50 percent cap could only be exceeded if 3 billion cubic meters of gas was released annually at a fixed price to competing suppliers on the Czech market.

The WTO panel also agreed that Croatia, Hungary and Lithuania had discriminated against Russia by requiring a security of energy supply assessment for foreign, but not domestic, pipeline operators.