The Gassled-case to be decided by the Supreme Court
Four international infrastructure investors acquired 45% of Gassled for more than NOK 30 billion in 2011/2012. The sellers were ExxonMobil, Statoil, Total, Shell and Eni. Shortly after the transactions were approved by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy initiated a process in order to reduce the tariffs for use of Gassled set by the authorities. The process resulted in a 90% tariff reduction for most parts of the infrastructure, affecting new bookings for use of the system from October 2016.
The four new owners initiated legal proceedings against the State claiming that the tariff reduction was invalid or, alternatively, that the State was liable for its decision to approve the transactions right before the tariff reduction process was initiated. The State was acquitted by both the Oslo District Court and later in the Borgarting Court of Appeal. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court in September 2017 on the grounds that the tariff reduction lacks sufficient legal basis and represents an unlawful infringement of property rights in violation of ECHR P1-1. On 21 December 2017, the Supreme Court Appeal Committee admitted the appeal to be heard by the Supreme Court. The case raises several fundamental questions, including related to the boundaries of the State’s regulatory powers within the petroleum industry.
BAHR represents three of the investors with an aggregated ownership of around 37% of Gassled – Solveig Gas Norway AS (owned by CPPIB, Allianz and ADIA), Silex Gas Norway AS (owned by Allianz) and Infragas Norge AS (owned by PSP).