Austrian OMV to Appeal Polish Watchdog Fine on Gazprom

Last month, the Polish anti-monopoly authority UOKiK ruled that a fine of about 6.5 billion euros be imposed on Gazprom over the project, accusing Gazprom and its European partners of failing to notify Warsaw about the start of a joint venture for the pipeline’s construction.

The Austrian oil and gas company OMV has told Sputnik that it will appeal the Polish watchdog’s demand to break off the agreement for Nord Stream 2 funding, stressing that it has no legal basis.

On 7 October, the watchdog fined not only the Russian corporation but also its European partners in the project, demanding that they pay a total of $61 million and abandon their pipeline-related financial commitments within 30 days.

Nord Stream 2 is a $10.5 billion joint venture between Russia’s Gazprom, Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall, Austria’s OMV, France’s Engie, and UK/Dutch energy conglomerate Royal Dutch Shell. The 1,230 km pipeline will be capable of transporting up to 55 billion cubic metres of gas per year from Russia to Germany.

The pipeline has faced repeated attacks from Washington and several European countries, including Poland. U.S. authorities have repeatedly threatened to sanction all the participants, claiming that Nord Stream 2 poses a danger to Europe by making it dependant on Russian gas.

Moscow, in turn, has emphasised that Nord Stream 2 is a purely economic project that it should not be politicized, while Germany has also reaffirmed its commitments, saying that the pipeline should be completed.

In December 2019, the threat of U.S. sanctions forced Swiss pipelay company Allseas to quit the project with just 100 miles of the pipeline left to put down. As a result, Russia is now finishing the pipeline on its own.