Cold war over Russian energy as EU increases pressure on Gazprom

 
Charlotte Henry
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Margrethe Vestager is likely to deliver a formal statement of objections to the Russian energy giant

Tensions between the West and Russia are expected to heighten further today when European Union anti-trust officials ramp up proceedings against state-owned energy giant Gazprom

The new EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager is likely to deliver a formal statement of objections to the Russian energy giant.
An investigation into the firm’s pricing policies was launched in September 2012, but is now coming to a head.
While the EU insists that this is a competition investigation, experts disagree.
Sarah Lane, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) told City A.M: “The whole issue around sanctions and the EU’s dependence on Russia has brought this to fore.
“The political situation has probably sped up this whole issue,” she continued.
The anti-trust move comes two days after UK energy secretary Ed Davey told Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman that he had to sell his North Sea gasfields within six months, due to sanctions against Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.
Despite the threat of charges, shares in Gazprom closed up 0.7 per cent, at £13.75 yesterday.
The EU commission is also launching anti-trust moves against US technology giant, Google.
Tensions between the West and Russia are expected to heighten further today when European Union anti-trust officials ramp up proceedings against state-owned energy giant Gazprom
The new EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager is likely to deliver a formal statement of objections to the Russian energy giant.
An investigation into the firm’s pricing policies was launched in September 2012, but is now coming to a head.
While the EU insists that this is a competition investigation, experts disagree.
Sarah Lane, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) told City A.M: “The whole issue around sanctions and the EU’s dependence on Russia has brought this to fore.
“The political situation has probably sped up this whole issue,” she continued.
The anti-trust move comes two days after UK energy secretary Ed Davey told Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman that he had to sell his North Sea gasfields within six months, due to sanctions against Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.
Despite the threat of charges, shares in Gazprom closed up 0.7 per cent, at £13.75 yesterday.
The EU commission is also launching anti-trust moves against US technology giant, Google.

Q and A: EU talk tough with Gazprom and Google

Q This EU Commission anti-trust investigation into Gazprom has been going since September 2012, why is it only acting on it now?
A Sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, and a new competition commissioner, have given the issue new political impetus.
Q What is Gazprom accused of doing?
A The EU investigation centres around the allegation that Gazprom differentiates its prices around Europe.
Q How big a deal is Gazprom anyway? Why does it matter?
A It has annual sales of $100bn (£67bn), and supplies nearly a third of the EU’s natural gas.
Q Is there a link between this and the anti-trust action the EU is also taking against Google?
A The EU insist that both are legal, and not political actions. The EU would like its actions to be seen in this context.

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