EC imposes obligations on Gazprom to enable free flow of gas at competitive prices
Gazprom is the dominant gas supplier in a number of Central and Eastern European countries. In April 2015, the Commission sent a Statement of Objections to Gazprom.
It set out the Commission's preliminary view that the company breached EU antitrust rules by pursuing an overall strategy to partition gas markets along national borders in eight Member States (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia).
This strategy may have enabled Gazprom to charge higher gas prices in five of these Member States (Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland).
Today's Commission decision puts an end to this behaviour by Gazprom. Furthermore, it imposes on Gazprom a detailed set of rules that will significantly change the way Gazprom operates in Central and Eastern European gas markets:
- No more contractual barriers to the free flow of gas: Gazprom has to remove any restrictions placed on customers to re-sell gas cross-border.
- Obligation to facilitate gas flows to and from isolated markets: Gazprom will enable gas flows to and from parts of Central and Eastern Europe that are still isolated from other Member States due to the lack of interconnectors, namely the Baltic States and Bulgaria.
- Structured process to ensure competitive gas prices: Relevant Gazprom customers are given an effective tool to make sure their gas price reflects the price level in competitive Western European gas markets, especially at liquid gas hubs.
- No leveraging of dominance in gas supply: Gazprom cannot act on any advantages concerning gas infrastructure, which it may have obtained from customers by having leveraged its market position in gas supply.
- Combined, these obligations address the Commission's competition concerns and achieve its objectives of enabling the free flow of gas in Central and Eastern Europe at competitive prices. ■