November 7, 2019 / 5:37 PM / 6 days ago

Poland's anti-monopoly body says to impose big fine over Nord Stream 2

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project is seen on the pipe cap at the construction site of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, near the town of Kingisepp, Leningrad region, Russia June 5, 2019. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland’s anti-monopoly authority said it will impose a significant fine on Friday as part of proceedings against Russia’s Gazprom and five European firms responsible for financing the planned Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline.

Poland sees Nord Stream 2, which would double Russia’s gas export capacity via the Baltic Sea, as a threat to Europe’s energy security and argues it will strengthen Gazprom’s already dominant position on the market.

In 2016, Poland’s anti-monopoly office (UOKiK) said the Nord Stream 2 project would undermine competition and it rejected a joint venture between Gazprom and its European partners, which include Uniper, Wintershall, Shell, OMV and Engie.

Last year the watchdog launched proceedings against these companies, arguing that they had not observed its objections.

UOKiK said on Thursday on twitter: “We remind you of tomorrow’s press briefing. Subject: the latest decision of UOKiK’s head in the Nord Stream2 construction case. The highest fine in the office’ history. Details on Friday”.

A spokeswoman declined to provide details on which companies would face the fine and how big it would be.

Last week, Denmark gave the go-ahead to Nord Stream 2, removing the last major hurdle to the completion of the Russian-led project that has divided opinion in the European Union.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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