Norway Gas Pipeline Investors Go To Top Court Over Tariff Cut
OSLO, Sept 13 (Reuters) - A group of investors in Norway's gas pipeline network are going to the country's highest court in a final attempt to overturn a government decision to cut pipeline tariffs that came into effect in October 2016.
The Supreme Court is expected to decide whether to hear the case in late 2017, one of the investors, Solveig Gas, said in a statement. The hearing, if accepted, will take place in 2018.
The government owns 45.8 percent of the Gassled pipeline network via state-owned Petoro, while majority state-owned Statoil has 5 percent.
The four investors pursuing the case own a combined 43.9 percent stake. They are in turn 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 June, a Norwegian appeals court ruled against the four in a lawsuit that argued the cut in gas pipeline tariffs was unlawful and would cost them a combined 15 billion Norwegian crowns ($1.8 billion) in lost earnings through 2028.
That verdict overturned a previous decision, and awarded the government 42.2 million crowns from the plaintiffs.
Some of the companies involved have said the unexpected decision to lower gas transportation tariffs would hurt the image of Norway as a country to invest in.
The government cut tariffs 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.
Norway's ministry of Petroleum and Energy was not immediately available for comment.
(Reporting by Camilla Knudsen and Lefteris Karagiannopoulos; Editing by Gwladys Fouche and Mark Potter)
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