"Usually, I do not comment on questions that are not addressed to us. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the prime minister's remarks," Lietuvos Dujos CEO Viktoras Valentukevičius said at a news conference when asked if he agreed with Kubilius' opinion that the probe would reinforce Lithuania's position in negotiations with Gazprom over lower gas prices.
Joachim Hockertz, Leituvos Dujos' deputy CEO and commercial director, said that the antitrust investigation into Gazprom had nothing to do with the Lithuanian company.
"Lietuvos Dujos has received no criticism from the European Commission. We can say that this investigation is not related to our company," he said.
At the request of the Commission's competition authority, the Lithuanian Competition Council's officers in September 2011 searched Lietuvos Dujos' premises for documents and information proving violations of legislation.
Prime Minister Kubilius said this week that the EU probe might change Gazprom's behavior in European gas markets and that it would strengthen Lithuania's position in price talks with Gazprom.
Kubilius also said that the gas monopolist should quickly change its pricing policy and compensate Lithuania for the losses it had suffered due to being forced to pay higher prices for gas. However, he did not say what amount of losses he was talking about.
The European Commission said on Tuesday that it had opened a formal investigation into whether Gazprom might be hindering competition in Central and Eastern European gas markets, in breach of EU antitrust rules. The EU's executive body said that it would investigate three suspected activities: hindering free flow of gas between EU countries, preventing diversification of gas supply; and imposing unfair prices on customers.
Lithuania currently pays the highest price for Gazprom's gas in the EU, at 1,578 litas (EUR 457.4) per 1,000 cubic meters.
Lithuanians are facing record high heating bills this coming heating season, as heat producers mostly burn expensive Russian natural gas.