23 September 2015

Gazprom tries to settle EC competition case

Gazprom is attempting to settle a long running antitrust investigation by the European Commission, the Russian energy giant said this week.

Gazprom has asked the EC to consider a settlement over competition infringement charges. The Russian gas company, the dominant natural gas supplier Eastern European countries, with market share of 50 to 100 per cent in many countries, started being investigated by the EC competition authorities in 2012. Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom's deputy chairman, said on 21 September 21: 'We have sent our proposals to settle the claims formally brought against Gazprom'. A EC acknowledged it has recieved the letter, with the competition authority spokesman Ricardo Cardoso telling Bloomberg News: 'The EC can confirm it has received a set of commitment proposals from Gazprom, which it will assess carefully'.

Artificial barriers

The European Commission sent a further Statement of Objections to the Russian state owned energy provider in April 2015, alleging it was still abusing it's monopoly power in European gas markets. 'I am concerned that Gazprom is breaking EU antitrust rules by abusing its dominant position on EU gas markets' the EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager stated in April, adding that the company has built artificial barriers preventing gas from flowing between different European countries, impinging cross-border competition. 

Unfair prices

'Keeping national gas markets separate also allowed Gazprom to charge prices that we at this stage consider to be unfair. If our concerns were confirmed, Gazprom would have to face the legal consequences of its behaviour,' said the former Danish cabinet minister in April. Sources: EC; Financial Times