May 23, 2018 / 8:16 AM / a year ago

CORRECTED-Norway Supreme Court hears appeal from Gassled pipeline owners over tariff cuts

(Corrects to show CapeOmega bought Njord Gas and stake size 48.2 percent (not 43.9 percent), paragraph 3)

By Gwladys Fouche

OSLO, May 23 (Reuters) - The Norwegian Supreme Court on Wednesday began hearing an appeal from some of the owners of the Gassled gas network involving government cuts to pipeline tariffs.

In June 2017, a Norwegian appeals court ruled against the owners in a lawsuit that argued the cut in tariffs was unlawful and would cost them a combined 15 billion Norwegian crowns ($1.86 billion) in lost earnings through 2028.

The case against the government is being pursued by four investment companies, Solveig Gas, Silex Gas, Infragas and CapeOmega, which bought original owner Njord Gas Infrastructure. Together they hold a combined 48.2 percent of Gassled.

The four firms were originally 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 October 2017, UBS and Caisse des Depots announced they were selling their stakes to Cape Omega, but will still remain in line for any potential proceeds from a decision in favour of the Gassled partners, and will help pay the cost of litigation.

Some of the companies involved have said Norway’s 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.

The hearing is expected to last eight days.

$1 = 8.0815 Norwegian crowns Editing by Jason Neely

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