Gazprom wins appeal against 6.2b euro Polish fine

The logo of Gazprom is pictured at the 26th World Gas Conference in Paris, France, on 2 June 2015Reuters

A Polish court on Monday overturned a decision by Poland’s anti-monopoly watchdog to impose a 6.2 billion euro ($6.3 billion) fine against Russian gas giant Gazprom, the watchdog said.

The fine imposed in 2020 against Gazprom and five other companies, including British-Dutch giant Shell, was over construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Supplies through the gas pipeline linking Russia and Germany have since been halted because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The anti-monopoly watchdog had launched an anti-trust procedure against the companies building the pipeline, saying that its construction would hamper competition.

The watchdog, UOKiK, said in a statement that it was “surprised” by the finding from Poland’s Court of Competition and Consumer Protection over-ruling its decision.

“The threats we talked about when presenting the decision are clearly visible today not just in Poland, but throughout Europe,” UOKiK president Tomasz Chrostny said in the statement.

“We will appeal against the judgment.”

Chrostny said the court had found the companies that built Nord Stream 2 had not created a new joint venture and his office did not have the competence to decide on the pipeline’s effects on the economy.

Even before the war in Ukraine, the pipeline had been fiercely opposed by Poland, the Baltic states and the US fearing it would increase Europe’s reliance on Russian energy supplies which Moscow could then use to exert political pressure.