Published 5 October 2018
(minor revisions 08/10/2018) In early 2014, Russia initiated a dispute at the WTO in relation to the EU´s internal energy market liberalization measures as implemented through the so-called Third Energy Package. In this dispute, Russia challenged several measures of the EU as incompatible with obligations under the rules of the WTO. These measures related to, inter alia, discrimination created through requirements imposed on third country owners of infrastructure within the EU as well as the preferential treatment of LNG in relation to natural gas in its gaseous state.
The long awaited Panel Report in the EU - Energy Package (“Panel Report”) was released on 10 August 2018 and both parties to the dispute have now appealed the Panel Report. While this is not the first energy related WTO case, it is the first WTO Panel Report directly focusing on energy markets and their regulation. This article focuses on one specific issue in the panel report, namely the analysis of likeness between LNG and natural gas in its gaseous state. The Panel concluded that LNG is not "like" natural gas and the Panel, therefore, rejected any claims of discrimination between LNG and other natural gas (transported via pipeline).
Footnotes omitted from this introduction.