Robert HARNEIS -TDO- (FRANCE)- The Polish anti-monopoly office has imposed a fine of 40 million euroson the French Company Engie Energie, formerly GDF Suez. The case is concerned with the company’s involvement with Nordstream 2, the undersea gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. The pipeline in vital for Germany but is seen by the Poles as a threat not only to themselves but to Ukraine.

Poland fears that with the new pipeline it would be easier for Russia to cut off gas supplies whilst at the same time continuing to supply Germany. They and other EU states are concerned that with the new pipeline Russia will no longer need to pass gas through Ukraine with the loss of several billion euros of transit fees. Poland has been deeply involved with the whole Ukraine anti-Russia movement.

Behind Poland stands the United States that has done everything it could to obstruct the construction of the pipeline, encouraging Denmark to block it on somewhat dubious environmental grounds. Denmark has now given its consent as it was legally obliged to do.

In this latest move to harass the pipeline and those constructing it, of which Engie is one, the Polish authorities allege that Engie failed to submit documents setting out its contractual arrangements with Gazprom, the owner of the pipeline.

Gazprom is building the pipeline with the benefit of financing provided by Uniper and Wintershall, Royal Dutch Shell, the Austrian OMV and Engie.

The European Union has recently obliged its members to pass legislation to hinder Gazprom in its unencumbered utilization of the pipeline insisting on separate ownership of the gas and the pipeline. Despite being the main beneficiary of the project Germany is currently putting the legislation through parliament.

The 1,230-kilometer undersea pipeline from Russia to Germany is 87% complete and the company still has to lay 336 kilometers of the infrastructure. It was initially planned to start at the end of this year.

Nord Stream 2 could consider creating an independent pipeline operator to comply with Europe’s gas directive, Rolle said.

Project owner Gazprom PJSC is preparing to create a legal entity that will comply with the directive, the Handelsblatt newspaper reported on Thursday.

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