Russian energy giant Gazprom and its European partners have withdrawn their application for merger approval in Poland, but they insist that their Nord Stream 2 pipeline project remains alive.
Gazprom, Anglo-Dutch group Shell, Austrian OMV, and German Uniper and Wintershall plan to build a pipeline under the Baltic Sea, bypassing Ukraine to deliver natural gas directly to Germany from Russia.
Ukraine has strongly objected to the project, and Germany's participation in such a joint venture with Russia's controversial gas monopoly has also drawn criticism.
In July, Poland's antitrust authority said that it opposed a planned merger, as it could lead to unfair competition while unduly strengthening Gazprom, which already plays a "leading role" in gas delivery to Central Europe.
The Nord Stream partners said they withdrew their merger plans on August 12 in light of the regulator's objections.
"This decision does not affect implementation of the project, which continues as planned," they said in a statement, RFE/RL reports.