Russia Diversifies Gas Export Markets - Increasing Focus on Asia to Offset Potential Decline in Supply to Europe
- Language: English
- 43 Pages
- Published: August 2012
- Region: Asia, Europe, Russia
On April 21st 2015 the European Commission, in its capacity as the EU's competition watchdog, formally charged the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom with abusing its position in European gas markets to inhibit competition and overcharge some EU states. The case is likely to last for several years, and Gazprom may be open to compromise on some of the charges. Even if Gazprom is forced to open up its distribution system to greater competition, the high level of dependence of some EU states on Russian gas is unlikely to change in the short to medium term. Given the tense geopolitical context in which the charges have been brought, however, an unpredictable and aggressive reaction from the Russian side cannot be entirely ruled out.
The Commission's case centres on three charges. It claims that Russia has been doing the following:
The dispute with Gazprom has been brewing for a long time, and although the Commission's actions are in line with a new tough approach to big non-EU companies-as exemplified by the recent Google case, another antitrust suit, in which the Commission accuses Google of abusing its dominant position in the Internet-search market-there is a significant political dimension to the case. Whether in spite or because of the Ukraine conflict, the decision signals that the Commission is willing to run the risk of further aggravating tensions with Russia.
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European Commission puts Gazprom in the dock
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