Another 234 million zlotys were fined by five companies involved in financing the Nord Stream 2 project, the agencies said. Gazprom said it did not agree with the fine and that it would exercise its right of appeal. The Russian company claims that it did not violate Polish antitrust rules.
Poland considers the Nord Stream 2 project, which is to bring natural gas from Russia to Germany along the Baltic Sea floor, to be a threat to Europe’s energy security. According to Warsaw, the gas pipeline will strengthen Gazprom’s already dominant position on the market. Gas from Nord Stream 2 is also to be used by the Czech Republic, which will connect to it via the new Eugal gas pipeline.
Gazprom bears half of the cost of building the pipeline. The other half falls on the European partners in the project, which are the German companies Uniper and Wintershall, the British-Dutch company Royal Dutch Shell, the Austrian OMV and the French Engie.
Gazprom said on Tuesday that it intends to complete the Nord Stream 2 project as soon as possible. The construction of the 1230-kilometer-long gas pipeline is almost complete, but about 120 kilometers of pipelines remain to be laid in Danish waters. Last December, the Swiss-Dutch company Allseas suspended the laying of pipelines due to US sanctions on companies associated with the construction of the pipeline.
The United States has long criticized the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, citing fears of Europe’s over-dependence on Russian gas. However, according to Moscow, the United States is motivated by its own economic interests and is trying to secure sales in Europe of more expensive liquefied natural gas from the United States.
The Polish Antitrust Authority has been examining the Nord Stream 2 project for several years. In August, Gazprom was fined 213 million zlotys, about 1.3 billion crowns, for lack of cooperation in its management related to this project.
Gazprom has the largest reserves of natural gas in the world and has a monopoly on the export of this strategically important raw material from Russia via gas pipelines. It is a key gas supplier for a number of European countries, including the Czech Republic.
Gazprom earned 149.2 billion rubles this year, around 44 billion crowns. Compared to the same period last year, however, his net profit fell by more than half due to the negative impact of the coronavirus crisis on the gas market. For the whole of last year, the company reported a net profit of 1.2 trillion rubles, over 350 billion crowns.