Polish UOKiK Fined Gazprom $57 Million For Nord Stream 2
The Polish Competition and Consumer Protection Authority (UOKiK) fined Gazprom $57 million for refusing to cooperate in the case of the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, according to the official website of the regulator.
"The head of UOKiK, Tomas Krustny, imposed a fine of about 213 million zlotys (about $57 million) on Gazprom. This is the result of the lack of cooperation in the proceedings that are being held in connection with the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline," the message reads. It is emphasized that this obligation follows from the European norms, which are based on Polish law on consumer protection and competition.
"The imposition of the fine on Gazprom is related to the ongoing proceedings in connection with the procedure for creating a consortium to finance the construction of the Nord Stream - 2 gas pipeline without the necessary consent of the head of UOKiK. In this regard, the head of UOKiK filed charges against six companies: Gazprom from Russia, Engie Energy from Switzerland, and four from the Netherlands: Uniper, OMV, Shell, and Wintershall. During the proceedings, the President of UOKiK also asked Gazprom to provide documents related to the case. But the company refused to provide information important for the proceedings," the office informed.
"Based on the existing provisions, at the beginning of the year, we asked Gazprom to provide us with contracts concluded by its subsidiary with other companies that Finance the construction of Nord Stream 2. Despite the legal obligation to cooperate with the head of management, the company did not provide this information, including after the start of proceedings in may due to lack of cooperation, which should be a warning signal for the company," UOKiK said.
"Violation of the legislation of Poland - a member state of the European Union will be subject to financial sanctions provided for in it. In my opinion, this is a deliberate act that should have prevented the continuation of the proceedings. Therefore, I decided to impose a fine of almost 213 million zlotys on Gazprom; this is the maximum sanction provided by the law for refusing to provide information at the request of the head of the Department," Krustny said.
Earlier, UOKiK initiated an investigation against Gazprom and five of its partners in Nord stream 2-OMV, Wintershall, Shell, Uniper, and Engie, which resulted in charges of violating Polish antitrust laws due to the financing of the project. According to the regulator, Gazprom entered into a financial transaction with these companies without the prior consent of UOKiK, which as a result may lead to restrictions on competition.
The Polish antitrust regulator also prevented Gazprom and its European partners from creating a single operator company for the construction of Nord Stream 2. Then the project partners started financing not through joint ventures, but loans. The project operator is Gazprom's daughter Nord Stream 2 AG, and European companies Finance the construction of the pipeline as creditors.
Nord Stream 2 includes two lines of a gas pipeline with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year, which are laid from the coast of Russia through the Baltic sea to Germany. Gazprom's European partners in the project are Germany's Uniper and Wintershall, Austria's OMV, France's Engie, and Anglo-Dutch Shell. The pipeline bypasses transit States-Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, and other Eastern European and Baltic countries - through the exclusive economic zones and territorial waters of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany.