Gazprom agrees with the EU to lift restrictions on gas resale
Gazprom agreed to remove terms from natural gas contracts that restricted buyers' rights, said the European Commission in a press release.
In particular, the move calls for lifting the ban that prevented European customers from reselling Gazprom-supplied gas to other countries. Furthermore, Gazprom agreed to ensure the supply of gas from Hungary, Poland and Slovakia to the Baltic states and Bulgaria along its networks.
Gazprom also proposed changing its gas pricing mechanism, making it easier to revise prices.
"We believe that Gazprom's commitments will enable the free flow of gas in Central and Eastern Europe at competitive prices," noted Margrethe Vestager, the commissioner in charge of competition policy. "This matters to millions of Europeans that rely on gas to heat their homes and fuel their businesses."
The European Commission said that if Gazprom’s commitments are officially approved, their implementation will become mandatory for the company. In the event that the commitments are broken, the European Commission will have the right to fine the Russian company by as much as 10 percent of its global turnover.
In late December, Gazprom reported that it had submitted proposals to the European Commission for settling the antimonopoly probe started against the company in 2012. As part of that probe, the Russian company was accused of trying to partition the European gas market in order to hinder free deliveries of gas to EU countries. The European Commission said that Gazprom was obstructing the diversification of gas supplies to Central and Eastern Europe and setting unfair prices.
"Proposals presented by Gazprom are a result of serious work, and demonstrate our readiness to duly take into account complaints from the European side regarding the gas market where it's justified and important," said Gazprom's deputy chairman of the board, Alexander Medvedev, in December.
He hopes reciprocal steps by the European Commission will make possible "progress in this case and have it settled in the near future," RBC reported (in Russian) Medvedev as saying.