The Polish antitrust regulator fined French energy company Engie for obstructing the investigation of the “Nord stream — 2”. The participants of the construction project of the TRANS-Baltic gas pipeline already have been rejected by the claims and intend to appeal. Against this background, trade representative of Ukraine Taras Kachka said about the intention of Kiev and Warsaw in some way to block implementation of the “Nord stream — 2”. However, according to experts, after obtaining permission from Denmark to lay the pipeline all attempts to prevent its construction are doomed to failure. Analysts say that opponents of the project realize that, but trying to “save face”, and based on political motives.
© Ilya Pitalev / RIA Novoslobodskoe the Office for protection of competition and consumers (UOKiK) imposed a fine on the French power company Engie for the lack of assistance in the case of the construction of the pipeline “Nord stream — 2”. As reported by representatives of agencies at a press conference in Warsaw, the fine will amount to 172 million zlotys (about us $44.5 million) — “for the continued and unjustified refusal to send the requested documents.”
UOKiK@UOKiKgovPLPrezes #UOKiK Marek Niechciał podczas dzisiejszej konferencji prasowej: Brak woli współpracy ze strony jednego z podmiotów budujących #NordStream 2 – spółki Engie Energy – można również uznać za brak szacunku dla naszego Państwa. To jeden z powodów tak wysokiej kary.
According to the head of Marek Nechala UOKiK, the Polish regulator has required the French to provide “information about the gas fuel, in particular, contracts of transport, distribution, sale, supply and storage”. However, the French company has not provided them.
“We are in a very important antitrust proceedings in the case of the “Nord stream — 2″, the consequences of which can be international in nature. The decision on the imposition of a fine is just one of the stages in this project”, — noted in UOKiK.
Company representatives Engie already stated that they intend to appeal the decision of the Polish office: “We absolutely disagree with this claim. We will challenge it immediately.”
According to Polish antitrust regulator, the investigation in relation to the “Nord stream — 2” began in 2016. In April 2018 UOKiK opened antitrust proceedings against Gazprom, Engie and four participants in the construction of the “Nord stream — 2”: companies Uniper, OMV, Shell and Wintershall.
Blame companies impute that they began to build “Nord stream — 2”, without the consent of the Polish Antimonopoly service. “Gazprom” in June last year, sent the Polish side their objections on this issue.
Commenting on the recent actions of the UOKiK in the company — the operator “Nord stream — 2” (Nord Stream AG 2) stressed that the statement of the Polish antitrust authority “are irrelevant to the project”. According to company representatives, the construction is in compliance with “all applicable laws and regulations”, all the necessary permits for this purpose were received.
The legal basis of the claims of the Antimonopoly regulator has explained to RT the Deputy Director of the national energy Institute Alexander Frolov.
“The domestic law of Poland implies the possibility of coordination of various infrastructure projects in Europe with Polish regulators in the case if the projects are related to Poland itself, or if the companies that participate in major infrastructure projects, conducting business in Poland” — said the expert.
Engie Energy © ERIC PIERMONT / AFPПо to him, the reluctance of the Polish regulator in 2016 to give the green light to the project prevented the establishment of a joint consortium with the participation of European investors, which would be built the “Nord stream — 2” and subsequently ruled them.
Now the construction of the pipeline, the company 2 the Nord Stream AG, the founder of which was Gazprom; European companies Engie, OMV, Shell and Wintershall Uniper lend to the project. Warsaw, however, found a reason to punish European investor project.
It should be noted that the Polish authorities remain one of the most rigid opponents of the construction of “Nord stream — 2”. So, during September visit to U.S. by Polish President Andrzej Duda discussed with his American counterpart Donald trump “how to stop” the construction of the pipeline.
“From a business point of view, such actions are inexplicable, — said Alexander Frolov. — In this situation is either to recognize the Polish government unprofessional, or prevent the presence of external influence on him.”The analysts state that the negative attitude of Poland to the “Nord stream — 2” coincides with the position of the United States. So, speaking November 8 at the events to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, US Secretary of state Mike Pompeo once again stated that in the case of this project, Europe will depend on the “whims” of Moscow.
As noted by the expert of the Russian Institute of strategic studies Oleg Nemensky, with this investigation and fines Poland is trying to “save face” because of her longstanding attempts to prevent the construction of “Nord stream — 2” failed.
“This decision fits perfectly into the context of officially declared Poland’s position in relation to the “Nord stream — 2″. Warsaw since the announcement of the plan for the construction of the pipeline States that is ready to resist all the forces of this project. Now, when it became obvious that her efforts failed, she tries to save face by continuing to possible to resist what is happening,” he explained RT.
One of the main reasons for the stubborn resistance of Poland project analyst called “historic phobias” and fears of Warsaw regarding the growing influence of not only Moscow but also Berlin — the main beneficiary of the project within the EU.
“From the point of view of the poles, any agreement between Moscow and Berlin without the participation of Warsaw is extremely dangerous,” — said the expert.
There is no leverage
However, opportunities to influence the implementation of the project in Warsaw is not much, analysts say. One of the ways judicial process. The desire to sue expresses not so much Warsaw, as its closest local allies.
Since November 7, Deputy Minister of economic development, trade and agriculture, trade representative of Ukraine Taras Kachka has promised that Kyiv and Warsaw can begin to plead with Germany to stop “North stream — 2”. If necessary, the official said, “they will block the project in other ways”.
“This may be our complaint, or the complaint of Poland and other countries”, — said the Ukrainian official. Thus in Kiev reacted to the intention of the German Bundestag to pass a law that would restrict the use approved in April amendments to the Gas Directive in relation to the “Nord stream — 2”.
Trade representative of Ukraine Taras Kachka Facebook © taras.cascarones Ukrainian Prime Minister Alexey Goncharuk was offered to the Estonian authorities together to oppose the project. The desire to sue the operator of the “Nord stream — 2,” he said and Lithuania.
In September, the EU court has satisfied the claim of Poland to “Gazprom” associated with the use of the OPAL gas pipeline — land branches of “Nord stream”. In 2016, the European Commission allowed the Russian company to fill the tube with gas at full power, not 50%, as foreseen by the Third energy package of the EU. However, because the claim of Poland to Gazprom had to reduce the volume of transport.
According to Nemensky, Warsaw has had some success in countering the “Gazprom”, but they are not critical.
“The Polish fight against the “Nord stream — 2″, supported by the US and some European countries, is bearing fruit, but these fruits are of limited value. To say that they are fundamentally prevented Russia and Germany, impossible”, — said the analyst.
Will be built in time
On 30 October, the Danish energy Agency after months of delay allowed the construction of a gas pipeline “Northern stream — 2” on the continental shelf of the country. According to initial plans, the pipeline capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas a year should be commissioned before the end of 2019.
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In August, the head of the Austrian company OMV, which is the number of project investors, Rainer Seele said that the gas will be received before midnight December 31, 2019. However, due to delays on the part of Copenhagen, some experts believe that the pipeline will be fully commissioned early in the spring (taking into account the time required not only for construction but also for filling the tube with gas, commissioning, etc.).
Ultimately, however, the project “Northern stream — 2” will necessarily be implemented, despite all the obstacles that are trying to put to him a number of Eastern European countries, led by Poland, says Alexander Frolov.
“Poland is not able to stop or slow down the construction of “Nord stream — 2″. The project will definitely be implemented,” — says the expert.
In turn, Nemensky noted that the Polish and Ukrainian politicians have long recognized the futility of trying to prevent the construction of “Nord stream — 2”, and all their statements about the need to stop the project is designed exclusively for domestic consumption, says the analyst.
“Now they clearly have no prospects. This is unfounded, caused by the political motives of the statement”, — concluded the expert.Source