The General Court of the European Union has refused to give a stay order on a European Commission (EC) decision which gives Russian firm Gazprom a bigger share in the OPAL gas pipeline.

Europe’s second highest court ruled that the EC could go ahead with the deal for now until a ruling is passed in 2019.

Poland along with a couple of Polish companies PGNiG Supply & Trading and Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo had appealed to the court to halt EC’s decision that 50% of the transport capacities of the gas pipeline are to go through a bidding process.

The plaintiffs argued that the increased gas transports of Gazprom through the OPAL pipeline would lead to reduced gas transport in the Yamal-Europe and Fraternité gas pipelines. This, they said would in turn pose a threat to the security of gas supply in Poland or have an adverse effect on competition.

The court said that the applicants could not prove that harm resulting from the contested EC decision is serious and cannot be repaired.

A statement regarding General Court President Marc Jaeger ruling read: “Since the harm alleged is not immediate, the President of the General Court finds that the requirement of urgency is not met.

“In those circumstances, he rejects the applications for a stay of execution of the contested decision and lifts the stay of execution ordered on 23 December 2016.”

Commissioned in July 2011, the 470km-long OPAL gas pipeline transports natural gas to Western Europe from Russia through the Baltic Sea. The 55in pipeline is the on-shore section of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline which connects Lubmin in Germany to Brandov in the Czech Republic.

Image: The OPAL pipeline near Weißenborn, Saxony in Germany. Photo: courtesy of malenki/