MOSCOW, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Amid antitrust concerns from Poland, a new financing model for the expansion of a gas pipeline to Europe could emerge by year's end, Russia's Gazprom said.
Russian natural gas company Gazprom signed shareholder agreements on the development of the second phase of the twin Nord Stream pipeline system last year with its counterparts at German energy companies BASF and E.ON, as well as those from French company ENGIE, Austria's OMV and Royal Dutch Shell.
In early August, the Polish antitrust authority, known by its acronym UOKiK, ruled the project consortium would restrict competition in the Polish energy market. In response, the parties to the project pulled their application to form a company to build and operate the pipeline. According to the Polish authority, that effectively halted the project's momentum.
With few tapped reserves of its own, Poland imports most of its oil and natural gas from Russia
Alexei Miller, the chief executive officer at Gazprom, said the Polish ruling did nothing to the project's schedule.
"Within a few months -- I will not call a more accurate term ... -- I think that before the end of the year we will definitely develop a new model of the project," he was quoted as saying by Russian news agency Tass.
Earlier this year, the Russian energy company, which is under European scrutiny because it controls both the reserves and the transit arteries, started calling for tenders to lay the sections of the planned pipeline in the Baltic Sea. The company said the additional components could be in service at some point in 2019.
Because of Gazprom's hold over energy, European leaders have said the Nord Stream expansion would "alter the landscape" of the regional energy sector by blocking new sources and suppliers in Europe.
"It is only Gazprom which is involved by 100 percent but we are holding a dialogue with our European partners, with every company, about the search for new models of financing of the project and its implementation," Miller said.