Russia’s main gas route to Europe seen at risk after Opal ruling

Russia will study the ruling, which “affects the overall situation with the energy supply of European countries,” Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Thursday

Russia may hesitate to strike a multiyear deal with the European Union and Ukraine on natural gas supplies after an EU court ruling on a key German pipeline.

The judgment last week reduces the options Gazprom PJSC has to ship billions of dollars of gas to its biggest market without using Ukraine’s pipeline network. But Russia may see the logic in the decision as flimsy and consider it to be a political rather than a valid legal move, said Katja Yafimava, a senior research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies who specializes in European gas regulation.

The three sides are poised to resume talks this week on a replacement transit deal via Ukraine, because the existing one ends this year. There’s a lot at stake for all parties. Europe gets more than a third of its natural gas from Russia and has limited options to replace all the supplies, while Russia gets a huge chunk of its foreign income from the sales and Ukraine is heavily reliant on the payments it gets from shipping the fuel through its territory.

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