EU: Utilities back Gazprom settlement

2017/04/10

competitionpolicyinternational.com

Some big utilities in eastern Europe are backing a proposed antitrust settlement with gas exporter Gazprom, increasing the chances of a deal that is opposed by countries striving to loosen the Kremlin’s grip over their energy sectors.

The provisional agreement, announced last month, would see Gazprom avoid a fine of up to 10 percent of its global turnover due to EU charges that it abused its dominant market position and overcharged clients in eight eastern European nations.

In return the Kremlin’s gas giant, which denies the charges, has offered concessions on contract terms and pricing to settle one of the EU’s largest, longest-running antitrust cases.

However, the deal is subject to feedback from EU states and market players in the region and could still be amended or even abandoned.

The agreement has drawn a positive response from some big utilities and network operators which said it would allow them to strike better deals with Gazprom, increasing the likelihood the EU will accept the Russian company’s concessions.

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