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    Polish Regulator Fines Gazprom in NS2 Case


UOKiK says Gazprom and its European partners should have sought its approval to finance Nord Stream 2.

by: Joseph Murphy

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Polish Regulator Fines Gazprom in NS2 Case

Polish antitrust regulator UOKiK has followed through on its threat to fine Gazprom in a case relating to the financing of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, announcing on August 3 it would charge the Russian firm zlotys 213mn ($57mn).

UOKiK brought charges against Gazprom, France's Engie, Germany's Uniper and Wintershall, now Wintershall Dea, Austria's OMV and Anglo-Dutch Shell in 2018 for financing Nord Stream 2 without its approval. This was needed under EU law, it argues, as the financial transactions will affect Poland's gas market.

It said in early June it had initiated proceedings against Gazprom for its failure to provide documents for the case.

UOKiK president Tomasz Chrostny accused Gazprom of intentionally trying to obstruct the proceedings.

"At the beginning of the year, we requested Gazprom provide us with contracts concluded by its subsidiary with other companies financing the construction of Nord Stream 2 ... The company failed to provide such information," Chrostny said. "To my mind, it is an intentional act, the aim of which was to obstruct the ongoing proceedings."

Poland has fiercely opposed Nord Stream 2, on the grounds that it will undermine European energy security and increase Russian political influence. Only 6% of the 55bn m3/yr pipeline's offshore section is left to complete, but construction ground to a halt in December after the US imposed sanctions on the project, forcing Swiss contractor Allseas to cease work. It is understood that Russia is planning to use its own pipelayers to finish the pipeline.

UOKiK also fined Engie in November for failing to provide documents, but the French utility has appealed against the decision.