Contrary to what some Polish journalists and commentators seem to think, the high penalty recently levied by UOKiK, the Polish antitrust authority, does not concern Gazprom. It is merely a sanction applied to punish the Swiss company Engie Energy for failing to submit information as requested. The case of the second strand of the pipeline remains pending - writes Bernadeta Kasztelan-Świetlik of GESSEL.

The PLN 172 million fine recently imposed by the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has been the object of considerable attention. Little wonder, the amount does speak to the imagination. Yet some of the comments ran wild and free... I even heard that the penalty had been applied to Gazprom itself for building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline without UOKiK’s permission !  Some readers may remember the anecdotes about Radio Yerevan – we heard that somebody, somewhere, did something, but the finer details evaded us. For my modest part, I have been following the Nord Stream 2 case before UOKiK for a long time, if only because it commenced on my watch as head of UOKiK’s antitrust division, and it indubitably ranked among the more interesting ones. So, I would like to take a moment to try and explain the gist of the matter – of course, referring only to information which is in the public realm.

Proceedings 1 – Filing of an intended concentration

In 2015, UOKiK received a filing notifying it of intended establishment of a joint entity by six enterprises: PAO Gazprom of Russia, E.ON Global Commodities SE of Germany, ENGIE S.A. of France, OMV Nord Stream II Holding AG of Switzerland, and the two Dutch companies Shell Exploration and Production B.V. and Wintershall Nederland B.V. This proposed new entity would construct and operate the Nord Stream 2 undersea gas pipeline system. The ensuing analysis by UOKiK’s Concentrations Control Department yielded the conclusion that Gazprom has a dominant position in the Polish gas supply market and that the planned concentration may lead to significant increase of Gazprom’s throughput capacity in Europe and, not unrelatedly, to stronger market position and bargaining power for Gazprom vis a vis Polish buyers (...)

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