Polish antitrust watchdog takes aim at Russia’s Gazprom over Nord Stream 2

Poland’s antitrust authority on Wednesday said it had initiated proceedings against Russia’s Gazprom company in a case involving the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

Pipes for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline are stored in the German port of Mukran last month.

Pipes for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline are stored in the German port of Mukran last month.Photo: PAP/DPA/Stefan Sauer/dpa-Zentralbild

The Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) said the Russian gas giant could face a fine of up to EUR 50 million for failing to cooperate and provide information needed during an antitrust probe.

The office’s head, Tomasz Chróstny, said in a tweet that „Gazprom refused to provide documents relevant to our investigation on several occasions.”

He added: „Gazprom cannot operate above the law and, for that reason, I have initiated proceedings against the company.”

The announcement came after the Polish anti-monopoly authority in November said it had imposed a record fine on Engie Energy, another company involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline opposed by Warsaw and Washington.

The Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection said at the time it had ordered the Engie Energy company to pay PLN 172 million (EUR 40 million) for failing to cooperate in proceedings involving the Nord Stream 2 project.

The Polish antitrust watchdog in April 2018 launched proceedings against Russia’s Gazprom and five international companies, Uniper, Wintershall, Shell, OMV and Engie, involved in the construction of the controversial gas link, according to a report.

The Nord Stream 2 gas link is an energy project strongly criticised by Poland and the United States amid concerns that the pipeline will make the European Union more dependent on Russian gas.

Once up and running, the 1,200-kilometre link is expected to have the capacity to send around 55 billion cubic metres of Russian natural gas a year directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea, while bypassing the Baltic states, Poland and Ukraine.

The US ambassador to Berlin was last month quoted as saying that America was preparing new sanctions designed to thwart the completion of the contested project.

The US Senate late last year approved a massive defence policy bill that included a measure to punish companies involved in work to build the pipeline.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has called Nord Stream 2 “a new hybrid weapon” aimed at the EU and NATO.

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Source: IAR, PAP

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