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EU top court backs operator of shelved Nord Stream 2 pipeline

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·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: A Gazprom sign is seen on the facade of a business centre in Saint Petersburg
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By Sabine Siebold

BERLIN (Reuters) -The operator of Nord Stream 2, a pipeline designed to double Russia's gas exports to Germany, won an appeal in the EU's top court on Tuesday after challenging European Union rules that require separate companies to build, operate and own pipelines.

Swiss-based Nord Stream 2 AG had been told in 2020 it could not appeal against EU rules that demand operators be separate from gas suppliers.

But the basis of that ruling by the EU's General Court - that the rules would not impact the company - was rejected by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Tuesday.

Nord Stream 2 AG is the Swiss subsidiary of Russian gas giant Gazprom, which completed the pipeline under the Baltic Sea last year. However, it is yet to open after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said it would not go into operation after relations with Moscow broke down ahead of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The ECJ stated that "the General Court was wrong to hold that Nord Stream 2 AG was not directly concerned" by the EU rules on pipelines and referred the case back to the General Court.

Russia has been cutting gas flows to Europe, and governments, markets and companies are on edge amid fears that Moscow might restrict gas supply further.

Nord Stream 1, the biggest single pipeline carrying Russian gas to Germany, began annual maintenance on Monday, with flows expected to stop for 10 days, but many are worried the shutdown might be extended because of the war in Ukraine.

(Reporting by Sabine Siebold, Rachel More and Bart Meijer, Editing by Miranda Murray and Susan Fenton)

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