Poland's anti-monopoly watchdog (UOKIK) has imposed a nearly PLN 213 million (€47 million) fine on Gazprom for its failure to cooperate in the investigation conducted in relation to the construction of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, UOKIK said in a statement on Monday.
UOKIK said 'obligation arises out of the European legislation on which the Polish Act on Competition and Consumer Protection is based.'
The authority decided to fine six companies, Gazprom from Russia, Engie Energy from Switzerland and four companies from Nederlands including Uniper, OMV, Shell and Wintershall.
According to UOKIK, it demanded documents that are also relevant to the case from Gazprom during the course of the proceedings, but the company declined to provide crucial information for the pending proceedings.
The documents requested by UOKIK were primarily for the transport of gaseous fuel, distribution, sale, supply and storage agreements.
'Based on the existing provisions, at the beginning of the year, we requested Gazprom to provide us with contracts concluded by his subsidiary with other companies financing the construction of Nord Stream 2,' Tomasz Chrostny, head of UOKIK, was quoted as saying in the statement.
'Despite its legal obligation to cooperate with the Authority, the company failed to provide such information, even after the proceedings in relation to failure to cooperate, which should have been a warning for the company, were initiated in May,' he added.
The Nord Stream project which brings Russian gas directly to Germany has been operational since 2011 with an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters.
The Nord Stream 2, an extension of the first Nord Stream pipeline, spearheaded by Gazprom, is nearing completion and has the same annual capacity, running almost parallel to the first pipeline route. Together they will meet the annual gas demands of a quarter of the European continent.
However, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has been a controversial project as previously, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Ukraine along with Denmark expressed their opposition to the project, arguing that it would increase the EU's dependence on Russian gas while urging that Europe instead focus on diversifying its energy resources.
It also has been the target of pressure from the US administration on Germany to abandon the project back in December 2019 and they later planned to apply sanctions against companies involved in its construction.
On Dec. 9, 2019, US legislators agreed on a 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes measures to punish companies involved in Nord Stream 2, from Russia to Germany.
By Sibel Morrow