European Commission accuses Gazprom

European Commission accuses Gazprom of breaking antitrust rules regarding cross-border gas sales.

European Commission accuses Gazprom

World Bulletin / News Desk 

The European Commission filed antitrust charges against Russia’s Gazprom on Wednesday.

"We find that it (Gazprom) may have built artificial barriers preventing gas from flowing from certain Central Eastern European countries to others, hindering cross-border competition," European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement on Wednesday.

The European Commission has accused Gazprom of breaking EU antitrust rules by reducing its customers’ ability to resell the gas cross-border.

The Commission said in a statement on Wednesday that "Gazprom has obliged wholesalers to obtain Gazprom’s agreement to export gas and refusing under certain circumstances to change the location to which the gas should be delivered."

The 28-nation bloc, which imports 53 percent of the energy it consumes, imported 27 percent of its natural gas from Russia last year.

Gazprom, the dominant natural gas supplier in all Central and Eastern European countries, has 12 weeks to reply to the charges and can also request an oral hearing to present its arguments, according to the European Commission.

Gazprom on Wednesday issued a statement calling the charges "unfounded."

The European Commissione first launched an investigation into Gazprom in 2012.

In a press release dated Sept. 4, 2012, the Commission said:

"The Commission is investigating three suspected anti-competitive practices in Central and Eastern Europe. First, Gazprom may have divided gas markets by hindering the free flow of gas across Member States. Second, Gazprom may have prevented the diversification of supply of gas. Finally, Gazprom may have imposed unfair prices on its customers by linking the price of gas to oil prices."

The antitrust charges against Gazprom come after the European Commission decided to file charges against Google for allegedly violating the 28-nation bloc’s antitrust laws by favoring its own shopping services.

"All companies that operate in the European market – no matter if they are European or not – have to play by our EU rules, " Vestager said in Wednesday’s statement.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Nisan 2015, 16:38