The Polish Office for Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) imposed a fine on companies involved in the construction of the Nord Stream - 2 gas pipeline. Thus, the Russian concern "Gazprom" is fined 29 billion PLN (about 6.45 billion euros) and five other companies - a total of about 178.5 million PLN (about 39.8 million euros), the press service of UOKiK on Wednesday, October 7.
In particular, the Polish regulator introduced fines against Swiss company Engie Energy (PLN 55.5 million), German Uniper (PLN 29.9 million) and Wintershall (PLN 30.8 million), Austrian OMV (PLN 87.7 million) and Dutch Shell (PLN 30.2 million). In addition, the companies involved in the project should terminate all contracts related to its financing within 30 days, says the UOKiK statement.
Poland launched an investigation in 2018
The regulator notes that "an unprecedented decision and the imposition of a record fine" is the result of the antimonopoly proceedings that have been conducted against Nord Stream-2 since 2018. According to UOKiK, Gazprom entered into a deal with companies without his consent, which may eventually limit competition. As part of the investigation, UOKiK had previously fined Gazprom PLN 213 million (approximately EUR 50 million) for refusing to provide the requested information about contracts within the pipeline construction.
"Gazprom does not believe that it has violated the antimonopoly legislation of Poland, and intends to appeal against the decision on the fine, reports the news agency Reuters, citing a statement by a representative of the concern.
The gas pipeline construction was suspended due to the US sanctions.
"Nord Stream 2, with a design capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year, envisages construction of two strings of over 1,200 kilometers each on the Baltic Sea bottom. The project was scheduled to be launched in 2019. Earlier, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Chaputowicz called the project a threat to Europe and said that it "will have negative political and economic consequences for the EU and will increase our dependence on an unreliable supplier -" Gazprom, which "will lead to a quasi-monopoly of one contractor and the only way to supply.
The US, Ukraine, the Baltic States, Romania and Hungary also oppose the pipeline. In December 2019, the U.S. imposed sanctions against foreign ships engaged in laying the "Nord Stream - 2", as a result of construction was suspended.