Poland threatens Gazprom with $50 million fine for failure to cooperate in Nord Stream 2 case

The Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Administration (Urząd Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentów, UOKiK) has opened a case against Gazprom because of the company's refusal to cooperate in the ongoing antitrust investigation.

"The rules are clear and the same for everyone, but Gazprom has repeatedly refused to hand over documents related to our investigation. The Russian gas giant cannot stand above the law, so I have opened a criminal case against Gazprom which will result in a fine for failure to provide information during the proceedings. According to the law, the company faces a fine of up to $50 million," said the head of UOKiK, Tomasz Chróstny in a statement published on the website of UOKiK.

UOKiK requested documents from Gazprom in the Nord Stream 2 case in February. The agency wanted to see contracts between Gazprom's subsidiary and other companies financing the pipeline's construction, mainly contracts for the transfer, distribution, sale, supply and storage of natural gas, UOKiK reported. However, the Russian company did not provide data, the Polish antitrust agency said.

In May 2018, UOKiK announced that it is launching an investigation into the activities if Nord Stream 2 investors. The agency said at the time that their financing of the pipeline was violating the decision of the Polish administration to ban the creation of a consortium for the implementation of the project. Gazprom, in turn, filed objections to UOKiK's position and applied for the termination of the Nord Stream 2 case in Poland.

In November 2019, UOKiK fined one of the investors of Nord Stream-2 ,the French company Engie, 172 million zlotys ($40.3 million) "for persistent and unreasonable refusal" to provide the requested documents about its participation in the pipeline project.

Construction of Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline is carried out by Gazprom's subsidiary Nord Stream 2 AG. The pipeline will pass along the bottom of the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany. The cost of the project is estimated at $9.5 billion. In addition to Gazprom, five major companies from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and France, namely, OMV, Wintershall Dea, Uniper, Shell and Engie, have invested in the pipeline. All of them have agreed to provide 10% of the specified amount as a loan, or $4.75 billion in total. These companies did not become shareholders of the construction project just because of the ban imposed by UOKiK.

  Poland, Gazprom, Russia