Gassled: the Ministry's amendment of Tariff Regulations was valid

Supreme Court judgment 28 June 2018, HR-2018-1258-A (case no. 2017/1891), civil case, appeal against judgment

CapeOmega AS (Counsel Thomas G. Michelet and assisting counsel Kyrre Eggen), Solveig Gas Norway AS, Silex Gas Norway AS, Infragas Norge AS (Counsel Jan B. Jansen, counsel Thomas K. Svensen and assisting counsel Kyrre Eggen) v. The state represented by the Ministry of Oil and Energy (The Attorney-General represented by Tolle Stabell and Christian Fredrik Michelet, and assisting counsel Håvard H. Holdø)

Justices: Bårdsen, Kallerud, Falch, Ringnes, Endresen

On 26 June 2013, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy decided to amend Regulations of 20 December 2002 no. 1724 on tariffs etc. for certain facilities (the "Tariff Regulations"). The amendment entailed a reduction of the price of gas transport through the gas pipe system owned by the joint venture Gassled. In the question whether the amendment had legal basis, the Supreme Court held that the Tariff Regulations originally had legal basis in section 10-18 subsection 1 and section 4-8 subsection 1 third sentence of the Petroleum Act and in section 70 of the Petroleum Regulations. The capital element in the tariff had been established in accordance with section 63 subsection 4 of the Petroleum Regulations with the purpose of continuing the established goal to obtain a real return on the invested capital of around seven percent. The Supreme Court found that the Ministry could amend the Tariff Regulations within the scope of their original legal basis, and that section 4-8 did not entail independent limitations of significance in the Ministry's right to make the relevant adjustments. The amendment of the Regulations was within the legal basis provided in the Petroleum Act and in the Petroleum Regulations. The Supreme Court did not consider whether the amendment was an interference with the right to protection of property in ECHR P1-1, as it was not under any circumstances a disproportionate measure. Hence, there was no basis for declaring the amendment invalid. 

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