Poland fines international company $45 mln over Nord Stream 2
Poland’s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has imposed a fine of PLN 172 million (almost $45 million) on Engie Energy for failing to provide information on the Nord Stream 2 project in which the company participated, according to a statement published by UOKiK on its website.
“This is the result of a lack of cooperation in the proceedings conducted by the head of the Polish antitrust office – Marek Niechcial,” the statement reads.
It notes that the fine was imposed in accordance with the results of an antitrust investigation conducted since April 2018 by UOKiK against Russia’s Gazprom and five international shareholders of Nord Stream 2 – Engie Energy, Uniper, OMV, Shell, and Wintershall.
According to UOKiK, the actions of Nord Stream 2 shareholders “may be an attempt to circumvent the regulations by establishing a company financing the construction of the gas pipeline without the consent of the antitrust authority.”
This is the largest fine ever imposed by the Polish antitrust authority.
In April 2018, Poland’s antitrust authority opened an investigation in possible collusion related to the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
According to Polish law, the maximum fine that UOKiK can impose on a company for violating antitrust laws can be 10% of the company’s turnover in the year before a decision on the violation of competition law is taken.
The Nord Stream 2 project involves the construction of a new pipeline from the Russian coast via the Baltic Sea to Germany in addition to the existing Nord Stream. The capacity of the second line of Nord Stream 2 is estimated to be 55 billion cubic meters of gas a year, and its length exceeds 1,200 kilometers.
In late October, the Danish Energy Agency issued the permission to Nord Stream 2 AG to build a part of the pipeline in the Danish territorial waters of the Baltic Sea. Denmark was the last country not to give permission to build the Russian gas pipeline.
The gas pipeline is being built by Russia’s Gazprom in cooperation with European companies Engie, Uniper, OMV, Shell, and Wintershall. The project is to be completed by the end of 2019.
Ukraine opposes the construction of Nord Stream 2. In addition, the pipeline’s opponents are the United States, Poland and the Baltic countries that warn that the EU will, in this case, be dependent on Russian gas supplies. U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to block the project with sanctions.
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