VLADIVOSTOK, Russia - Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom will not reduce supplies in retaliation for the launch of a European Union competition investigation into its gas sales, the Kremlin said on Friday.
The executive European Commission started the inquiry on
Tuesday into suspicions that Gazprom, which is more than 50
percent owned by the Russian state, is hindering the free flow
of gas across the EU and imposing unfair prices on its customers
by linking the cost of gas to oil prices.
Gazprom said it was armed with legal and political reasons
to respond to the investigation, but the monopoly has a track
record of punishing its customers through supply disruptions in
what have been described as “gas wars”.
“There is no talk about retaliation measures. Gazprom has in
the course of many decades proven its reliability as natural gas
supplier and is in fact a guarantor of the energy security in
Europe,” Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman,
told reporters in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok where
Russia is hosting an Asia-Pacific summit.
“Any statements to the contrary are illogical and not true,”
He added that the link to the price of oil was “a foundation
of the natural gas pricing formula” and could not be abandoned
because of the lack of an alternative.
Gazprom’s pricing disputes with neighbouring Ukraine led to
supply cuts to European customers in the winter of 2006 and
Gazprom supplies over a quarter of Europe’s gas consumption,
and several EU states rely on it for most of their needs and are
locked into long-term contracts, in some cases of up to 30