A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Norway’s Supreme Court rules in favour of state in pipeline tariff dispute

*Justice

29 June 2018, News Wires — Norway’s Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the government in a lawsuit brought by owners of the Gassled gas network over tariffs, ending a legal fight the owners said raised questions about Norway as an investment destination.

Shareholders in Gassled had argued that the government acted unlawfully when cutting pipeline tariffs and would cost them a combined 15 billion Norwegian crowns ($1.8 billion) in lost earnings through 2028.

“There was no ground to make the change in regulation invalid,” the five-strong Supreme Court panel said in its unanimous verdict.

The case against the government was pursued by four investment companies – Solveig Gas, Silex Gas, Infragas and CapeOmega, which together hold a combined 48.2 percent of Gassled, which transports Norway’s gas to the rest of Europe.

Some of the companies involved have said Norway’s unexpected decision to lower gas transportation tariffs would hurt its image as an investment destination. The Nordic country is Europe’s second-largest gas supplier after Russia.

The four investment companies were originally owned by Allianz, UBS, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and France’s Caisse des Depots.

In October 2017, UBS and Caisse des Depots said they were selling their stakes to CapeOmega, but they would still help pay legal costs.

The government cut tariffs by 90 percent shortly after the four investors bought their stakes in Gassled in 2011 and 2012 from ExxonMobil, Total, Statoil and Royal Dutch Shell for a total of 32 billion crowns.

At least two of the partners said they would continue to be “prudent owners” in the network.

– Reuters
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