Polish watchdog to appeal after Gazprom fine annulled by court
Poland's Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has announced that it will appeal a Polish court ruling annulling the fines imposed on Russian natural gas giant Gazprom and five companies responsible for the Russian-German Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.
Proceedings against Gazprom and five other companies (Engie Energy, Uniper, OMV, Shell and Wintershall) had been launched in May 2018. Two years later, UOKiK imposed an over PLN 29 billion (EUR 6.2 billion) fine on Gazprom, and over PLN 234 million (EUR 50 million) fine on the five companies.
The Polish Court of Competition and Consumer Protection, a so-called antitrust court which examines, among other cases, administrative decisions issued by the UOKiK head, annulled the UOKiK's decision on Monday.
While imposing the fines, UOKiK said they were connected with the companies' formation of a consortium to finance the Nord Stream 2 project without the watchdog's permission.
UOKiK also said at that time that due to its president's decision the mentioned companies were obliged to cease their financing of the Nord Stream 2 project.
"We were surprised by the court ruling," UOKiK's head, Tomasz Chrostny, said in a statement on Monday.
Nord Stream 2 is a Russian-German gas pipeline along the Baltic bed, connecting Russia and Germany and bypassing Eastern Europe. Germany suspended its opening after Russia invaded Ukraine.
In late September, several major gas leaks were reported in the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines, off the Danish island of Bornholm. The leaks were caused by powerful underwater explosions, according to Swedish and Danish seismographic data, in an act of suspected sabotage.