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Reviews of the press
  Lithuania threatens “Gasprom” with antitrust proceedings by the European Commission

2011 01 27

In the evening of 24 January the Lithuanian Ministry of Energy delivered a claim to the European Commission asking to investigate facts of undue influence of “Gasprom” of the dominating situation on the Lithuanian market, writes the newspaper “Kommersant”.

The press service of the Lithuanian Ministry of Energy refused to specify the facts referred to in the claim. However, the source of the paper in the authorities of the country explained that “the key claim is related to non-transparent pricing of gas from the “Gasprom” side, and not clear for Vilnius the cause of the raised prices on the Russian gas in comparison to the neighbouring countries”.

In December 2010 the price of gas for Lithuania amounted to USD 348 for one thousand cubic meters, whereas, according to the words of Valerij Jazev, the vice-speaker of the Gosduma, gas to Estonia was sold for USD 303, and to Belarus – for USD 184. According to unofficial data, Lithuania is paying for gas USD 356 as from January 2011.

According to the EU antitrust legislation, “Gasprom” may be fined in the amount of 10% from the annual turnover, or of 30% from annual sales within the procedures violating legislation. In the first case it might reach over USD 10 billion, and in the second – USD 330 million for the year of 2010, but this amount may be multiplied by the number of years during which the violation of legislation was identified.

The European Commission has already applied such sanctions to companies from “third countries”.

“The price on gas for Lithuania is fixed according to the mutually agreed formula with the attachment to the “oil basket” considering the fuel balance in the country. Such methodology, based on market principles, is successfully applied in Europe for over 30 years, and statements that it leads to undue influence of “Gasprom” are incorrect” – said the official representative of the concern Sergej Kuprijanov. He added that “Gasprom” is ready to “any proceedings”.

Material has been prepared by the Centre of Geopolitical Studies with reference to the article from «NEWSru» of 26 01 2011

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