European Energy Commissioner favors identical gas price for all EU countries

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Sep. 14, 2012 14:00
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European Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger.
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Vilnius, Lithuania - European Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger thinks that the price for imported Russian gas should be identical on all European Union markets.

In the medium term, the goal of deeper EU market integration will mean uniform development of the gas price on all markets. The gas price cannot be 30% less in EU countries than in other countries in the block, he said at a conference in Vilnius on Friday when asked which actions the European Commission should take in reaction to Russian President Vladimir Putin's decree on measures to protect Russia's interests in the execution of foreign economic activities by Russian companies.

General rules need to be observed when gas is delivered to EU countries, and if they are violated, changes need to be made. Otherwise, the EC will be forced to make certain decisions, Oettinger said.

Russia understands EC rules but does not fully adopt them. It is a different culture. The EC requires a more consolidated foreign energy policy, Oettinger said.

Last week the EC announced the initiation of anti-monopoly investigations into Russian gas major Gazprom's activities. The EC cites three anti-competitive practices possibly being employed by Gazprom. "First, Gazprom may have divided gas markets by hindering the free flow of gas across Member States. Second, Gazprom may have prevented the diversification of supply of gas. Finally, Gazprom may have imposed unfair prices on its customers by linking the price of gas to oil prices," the official statement read.

In response to these assumptions, Gazprom said it obeys the rules of the countries in which it operates and expressed hope that the investigation would be performed objectively.

"We expect that the investigation will duly respect our legal rights and legitimate interests based on European and international law, and that it will be taken into account that Gazprom, registered outside the jurisdiction of the EU, is a business entity empowered, according to Russian legislation, with special social functions and a status of a strategic organization," Gazprom said.

On September 11, Putin signed a decree 'On measures to protect the interests of the Russian Federation in foreign economic activities conducted by Russian legal entities.' These companies will be required to clear significant actions with the authorities if claims are brought against them by foreign states or international organizations.


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