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Nord Stream 2 partners withdraw joint venture notification

All the applicants believe that the project is crucial for the European energy system and each of them will individually contemplate alternative ways to contribute to it

MOSCOW, August 12. /TASS/. Gazprom, ENGIE, OMV, Shell, Uniper, and Wintershall submitted their joint response to the Statement of Objections of the Polish competition authority in the merger control proceedings regarding the planned creation of a joint venture among the applicants, according to the companies’ joint press release published on Friday.

"Following that, the applicants have decided to jointly withdraw their merger control notification from the Polish competition authority. All the applicants believe that the project is crucial for the European energy system and each of them will therefore individually contemplate alternative ways to contribute to it. The applicants’ decision to withdraw the notification will not affect the continuation by Nord Stream 2 AG of the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipelines as planned, including its scheduling," the press release said.

Member of OMV Executive Board Manfred Leitner said earlier that Austrian oil and gas company OMV expects that the joint venture for implementation of the Nord Stream - 2 project can resolve the situation with objections of the Polish regulator against the project.

"We are now preparing an answer. There is a number of points that we will be able to explain," he said. Leitner reminded that the deadline for clarification is August 16.

It was reported earlier that the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has not approved the creation of a joint venture by six parties responsible for the construction and operation of the Nord Stream 2.

The application for the official approval of a joint venture was submitted to the regulator in December 2015.

In February 2016, the regulator extended the consideration of the application by six months.

UOKiK asked the gas companies operating in Poland to evaluate the impact the future joint venture may have on the local market. The watchdog came to conclusion that the establishment of the joint venture may restrict competition.

In December 2015, UOKiK received a request for the assessment of the joint venture Nord Stream-2 in December last year. It was reported, that it Russian Gazprom and companies from Germany, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland were going to participate in it.

In February, UOKiK extended the deadline for consideration of creating a joint venture for the gas pipeline Nord Stream-2.

Earlier the Polish government has repeatedly criticized plans to build the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline, calling the project "a geopolitical project of Russia".

The Nord Stream-2 projects includes the construction of two lines of the offshore gas pipeline with a total capacity of 55 bln cubic meters of gas a year from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, in addition to the existing two lines. The project is to be implemented by the new engineering company New European Pipeline AG. The stakes of partners in Nord Stream 2 AG will be distributed as follows: Gazprom will hold 50%, while Uniper, BASF/Wintershall, Shell, OMV and ENGIE will own 10% each.