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Why Gazprom’s $7.6 Billion Polish Fine Is Just the Start

Nord Stream 2 Pipes At Mukran Port

Photographer: Axel Schmidt/Getty Images

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Poland’s antitrust watchdog slapped a $7.6 billion fine on Gazprom PJSC over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, opening a new front in the bitter political battle over the natural gas project. Wednesday’s surprise move raises a whole set of legal questions about the plan, which is teetering on the brink.

The antitrust authority said Gazprom and its partners, which were ordered to pay about $61.3 million, failed to get its approval for a joint venture to finance the pipeline. Completing the project makes European gas customers more dependent on a single supplier, Gazprom, and may increase gas prices for Polish customers, the authority said. It also ordered the companies to terminate their financing agreements for the pipeline.