ANNOUNCED AS TEMPORARYNo
On 26 November 2009, the Republic of Poland notified the above-mentioned measure. The measure concerns four investment projects in expansion of existing or in construction of new of underground natural gas storage (UGS) facilities, aimed at improving the security of gas supply in Poland. Once the aforementioned projects are completed, the natural gas storage capacity in Poland will increase by about one billion m3, from 1.6 billion m3 to 2.6 billion m3.
The single beneficiary of the aid is the Storage System Operator (SSO) Division which operates all gas storage facilities in Poland and which belongs in 100% to the incumbent gas company - Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo S.A. ("PGNiG"). PGNiG which is in 84.75% state-owned, is active and has a quasimonopolistic position on the markets of production, import, distribution, wholesale and retail sales of gas.
The total amount of aid is 1 539 920 200 Polish Zloty (PLN) which is approximately EUR 390.5 million. The aid will be granted from the approval of the Commission until June 2015.
The commission found that the measure constitutes State aid within the meaning of Article 107 (1) TFEU and gave the following assessment:
'As gas is traded between Member States in the EU and the new storages are, in the above circumstances, likely to attract gas trading companies to sell gas in Poland and discourage competitors from investing in alternative storage capacities, the planned aid is likely to affect trade between Member States.' (par. 41 of the letter from the EC to Poland - Brussels, 23.06.2010 C (2010) 4079 final)
The Commission has decided not to raise objections to the notified measure, because the aid can be found compatible with the internal market in accordance with Article 107 (3) (c) of the TFEU and Article 61 (3) (c) of the EEA Agreement. (par. 89 of the letter)
A state measure in the GTA database is assessed solely in terms of the extent to which its implementation affects the extent of discrimination against foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the state aid proposed here is discriminatory.
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