Gazprom relates European Commission's complaints against the company to attempts to receive gas discounts

Gazprom thinks the European Commission's complaints against the company could be connected with its desire to receive discounts for gas supplied under long-term contracts, but Gazprom is prepared to protect its interests, Gazprom Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev said at the Sakhalin Oil & Gas 2012 conference.

"So far we are seeing attacks on the oil coupling mechanism in long-term contracts used by Gazprom and other suppliers, Statoil and Sonatrach. Grounds are arising to suspect that the European Union's authorities, aided by games behind the scenes, are trying to force discounts for themselves," Medvedev said.

"If Brussels wants to regulate gas prices administratively, it ought to say so openly and explain at the same time how this complies with its calls to observe free market principles," he said.

"We're getting the impression that the European Commission is trying to make the European Union the least attractive for investment in natural gas trading, which is prompting us to look more actively for new markets," he said.

Russia will be protecting its own interests in Europe, Medvedev said. "Of course we've always worked according to the rules established by the laws of the countries, but we are full of resolve to protect our interests. We're hoping the European Commission will work on the basis of facts and understanding of the reality of the gas market," he said.

The EC said at the beginning of September that it was launching an anti-trust probe against Gazprom, saying the Russian company may have divided gas markets by hindering the free flow of gas across member states, that it may have prevented the diversification of supply of gas and that is may have imposed unfair prices on its customers by linking the price of gas to oil prices.

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