Russia’s Gazprom, EU in new gas pricing stalemate

Russia’s Gazprom, EU in new gas pricing stalemate

Russia’s Gazprom, EU in new gas pricing stalemate

Russia’s Gazprom defends its pricing policy amid a probe by European authorities. Hürriyet photo

Gazprom, Europe’s largest natural gas provider, defended itself against fresh monopoly accusations, saying that its pricing policy was in harmony with global standards.

The European Commission said it had launched an anti-trust probe against the Russian company due to concerns it was hindering competition in central and eastern European gas markets.

“Gazprom remained always true to its commitment to cooperate in good faith with the European Commission and remains committed to proceed with this interaction for the sake of a constructive dialogue,” Gazprom said in a written statement yesterday.

The opening of proceedings does not imply that Gazprom has acted in breach of EU competition rules, it said, expressing hopes that the investigation would duly respect its legal rights and legitimate interests based on European and international law.

The company also said it had not yet received an official notification from the European Commission on the issue. “Gazprom scrupulously abides by all the provisions of international law and national legislation in all of the countries where Gazprom Group conducts business. Gazprom Group’s activities in the EU market are in full conformity with legal standards applied by other natural gas producers and exporters; this includes price-formation mechanisms,” the statement read.

Turkey also faces problems

Turkey is also facing pricing disputes with Gazprom over gas prices. The state-run pipeline company Botaş has already decided to withdraw from buying natural gas from the Russian company via West Line. However, the trade continued with the Energy Ministry waiting for private firms to replace Botaş.
The EU imports 60 percent of its gas, with a quarter of gas consumed supplied by Russia. The 27-nation bloc has frequently found itself at loggerheads with Moscow over energy supply and is seeking for ways to diversify its supply. The European Commission said a day earlier it was concerned the natural gas producer, Russia’s biggest company and the world’s largest gas producer, was abusing its dominant position in central and eastern Europe in upstream gas supply markets.
Specifically, it said, the probe would focus on suspicions Gazprom was hindering the free flow of gas across EU countries, preventing supply diversification and imposing unfair prices, according to a Reuters report on Sept. 4.

Last year, the commission raided the offices of several Gazprom subsidiaries in Europe to investigate their involvement in supply, transmission and storage of natural gas.