Poland's anti-trust authority sends major fine to Nord Stream 2

Polish competition watchdog UOKiK has sent Russian fossil energy giant and pipeline operator Gazprom a fine of roughly EUR 50 million for inadequate cooperation in an anti-trust investigation, the authority informs.

Photo: Maxim Shemetov/REUTERS / X90156

Russian oil and gas behemoth Gazprom, which is leading the development of Russian-German gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, failed to provide sufficient assistance with an anti-trust investigation to which the company and several partners have been subjected by Polish competition authority UOKiK, the latter informs in press statement Monday after having fined Gazprom PLN 213 million (EUR 47 million).

"In the course of the proceedings, [UOKiK] requested documents that are of significance to the case from Gazprom as well, however, the company refused to provide information that is important to the pending proceedings," UOKiK writes in a press release.

The authority adds that documents pertaining to the case were requested earlier this year and that Gazprom received a warning in May – but very little happened.

According to UOKiK, these documents included network transmission, supply and storage contracts requested by the entity in connection with a probe launched in 2016.

Unprecedented proceedings

At the time, UOKiK indicated that a consortium consisting of six companies interested in forming a joint venture for the installation of Nord Stream 2 could potentially skew gas market competition.

Even so, the businesses continued with their endeavor – only without permission from Poland, whose territory the pipeline also traversed.

"Undoubtedly, the attitude of Gazprom has hindered our proceedings," write UOKiK President Tomasz Chróstny in the media release.

Chróstny adds that that UOKiK has adequate evidence material on the issue and is in the process of completing its analysis.

"This means that we are coming closer to the end of unprecedented proceedings regarding the creation of a consortium responsible for financing Nord Stream 2 without obtaining consent of the Authority," Chróstny says.

The other consortium partners are Engie, Uniper, ÖMV, Shell and Wintershall Dea.

Nord Stream 2 is still under construction but, according to Gazprom, is still missing a small section offshore of the Danish outlying island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea.

The US has also imposed a series of economic sanctions against the pipeline and its backers, delaying the time table for first gas flow to next year.

English Edit: Daniel Frank Christensen

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