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Poland Fines Gazprom $7.6 B Over Nord Stream 2

 |  October 7, 2020

Poland’s antitrust watchdog slapped a US $7.6 billion fine on Gazprom PJSC over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, opening a new front in the bitter political battle over the natural gas project, reported Bloomberg. 

The record fine adds to pressure against the pipeline — nearly complete — that will feed gas from Russia under the Baltic Sea into Germany. Poland and the U.S. have long objected to the link, arguing it will deepen Europe’s dependence on energy supplies from Russia. Germany has taken a more commercial view, leaving Poland frustrated by the European Union’s approach.

The regulator said the 9.5 billion-euro ($11 billion) pipeline will impede competition and “violates the interests of consumers.” It gave Gazprom and its partners 30 days to terminate financing agreements to “restore” competition. The fine amounts to 10% of the revenues of Russia’s primary gas export company, the maximum allowed penalty. Gazprom said it will appeal.

“This is serious and bad for the project — it means it might not happen,” said Jonathan Lamb, oil and gas senior analyst at Wood & Company, a Czech investment bank. “Even though Poland is a country whose involvement on the project is tangential, it is fining Gazprom for monopolistic reasons, which will force Russians to come up with remedies.”