EC sends Gazprom statement of objections alleging breach of antitrust rules

The European Commission has sent Gazprom a statement of objections alleging breach of EU antitrust rules.

The European Commission has sent Gazprom a statement of objections alleging breach of EU antitrust rules.

"The European Commission has sent a Statement of Objections to Gazprom alleging that some of its business practices in Central and Eastern European gas markets constitute an abuse of its dominant market position in breach of EU antitrust rules," the EC said in the statement.

"On the basis of its investigation, the Commission's preliminary view is that Gazprom is breaking EU antitrust rules by pursuing an overall strategy to partition Central and Eastern European gas markets, for example by reducing its customers' ability to resell the gas cross-border. This may have enabled Gazprom to charge unfair prices in certain Member States. Gazprom may also have abused its dominant market position by making the supply of gas dependent on obtaining unrelated commitments from wholesalers concerning gas transport infrastructure," it said.

"Gazprom now has 12 weeks to reply to the Statement of Objections and can also request an oral hearing to present its arguments. The Commission will fully respect Gazprom's rights of defense and carefully consider its comments before taking a decision. Sending a Statement of Objections does not prejudge the final outcome of the investigation," it said.

The EC said in preliminary findings that Gazprom imposes territorial restrictions in its supply agreements with wholesalers and with some industrial customers. These territorial restrictions may result in higher gas prices and allow Gazprom to pursue an unfair pricing policy with respect to certain EU countries.

Gazprom may be leveraging its dominant market position by making gas supplies to some countries conditional on obtaining unrelated commitments from wholesalers concerning gas transport infrastructure, the statement said.

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