Gazprom slams European commission claims over abusive business practices

 
Caitlin Morrison
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RUSSIAN oil and gas company Gazprom said yesterday that claims brought against the company by the European Commission as part of an ongoing antitrust investigation were unsubstantiated.

The commission yesterday served charges against the firm in a formal statement of objections alleging that “some of its business practices in Central and Eastern European gas markets constitute an abuse of its dominant market position”.

The commission said that, in its “preliminary view”, Gazprom is breaking EU antitrust rules by pursuing an overall strategy to partition those gas markets “for example by reducing its customers’ ability to resell the gas cross-border”.

Gazprom said in response to the charges that the adoption of the statement of objections “is just one of the stages of the antitrust investigation and does not imply holding Gazprom liable for any violation of the EU antitrust legislation”.

The group also said that it strictly adheres to all the rules of international law and legislation in the countries where it operates.

European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said yesterday: “Gas is an essential commodity in our daily life: it heats our homes, we use it for cooking and to produce electricity. Maintaining fair competition in European gas markets is therefore of utmost importance. All companies that operate in the European market – no matter if they are European or not – have to play by our EU rules.”

She added that if the commission’s concerns are confirmed, Gazprom will “have to face the legal consequences of its behaviour”.