Russia’s Gazprom has won an appeal against a fine of over €6 billion imposed on it by Poland’s antitrust authority, UOKiK, for constructing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline without first seeking Polish approval. UOKiK now says that it plans to challenge the ruling, reported Moscow Times.
In October 2020, UOKiK imposed financial penalties of more than 29 billion zloty (€6.2 billion) on Gazprom and more than 234 million zloty (€49.7 million) on five other European entities involved in the Nord Stream 2 project. It was reported to be the world’s largest ever competition fine.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline – which Poland strongly opposed – was supposed to bring Russian gas to Germany but in fact never began operation due to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine this year. It, as well as the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, was recently damaged by explosions in the Baltic Sea.
According to UOKiK, in 2018 Gazprom entered into an agreement with the five other companies (Germany’s Wintershall and Uniper, France’s Engie, Austria’s OMV and the UK’s Shell) without the prior consent of the Polish regulator, which may have led to a restriction of competition in the market.
UOKiK also says that the partners started financing the project without forming a joint venture and through loans, which is a violation of antitrust laws.