By Kate Abnett
(Reuters) - Europe's second highest court on Wednesday rejected a challenge by the operators of the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines against European Union gas rules, saying it was up individual member states to enforce them.
Nord Stream 2, designed by Russia's Gazprom <GAZP.MM> to increase direct shipments to Europe, will carry gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.
The Swiss-based operating company Nord Stream 2 had said the EU rules, which require separate companies to build, operate and own pipelines, would weaken the basis for funding the project. It turned to the courts to annul a relevant EU gas directive amendment adopted last year.
The general court on Wednesday dismissed the challenge, saying the directive amendment did not directly affect the pipeline and responsibility for enforcing the relevant EU law lay with the member states.
"Concerning both Nord Stream 2 AG and Nord Stream AG, the General Court finds that they (the companies) are not directly concerned," the court said in a statement.
Nord Stream 2 said it was analysing the ruling and had the option to file an appeal within two months.
"The court has not rejected our claim on substance, in particular that the amendment of the Gas Directive constitutes an unlawful discrimination of Nord Stream 2. Therefore, we maintain our claim," it said in a statement.
Germany's energy regulator on Friday declined to grant a waiver of the directives for the section that runs through German territory.
Nord Stream 2 is wholly owned by the Russia's Gazprom, and is responsible for the planning, construction and operation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is expected to open around early 2021 after numerous delays.
Fifty percent of the funding is provided by Germany's Uniper <UN01.DE> and BASF's <BASFn.DE> Wintershall unit, as well as Anglo-Dutch oil major Royal Dutch Shell <RDSa.L>, Austria's OMV <OMVV.VI> and France's Engie <ENGIE.PA>.
(Reporting by Kate Abnett; additional reporting by Foo Yun Chee in Brussels and Polina Ivanova in Moscow; editing by Barbara Lewis)