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Lithuanian Prime Minister says Gazprom shouldn't be surprised at EU investigation

AFP/„Scanpix“ nuotr. / „Gazprom“
Šaltinis: BNS

Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said on Tuesday that Russia's gas giant Gazprom and one of its top executives, Alexander Medvedev, should not have been very surprised at the launch of an EU probe into the group's possible anti-competitive practices.

"I just want to remind you that Medvedev visited us in Vilnius more than once in January to February and complained about the gas reform in Lithuania. Now it is the Commission that voice suspicions against Gazprom. This is a consistent action by the European Union, the European Commission, and Gazprom should not have been very surprised," Kubilius told BNS by telephone from China.

"Let me remind you that (Gazprom's representatives) in Lietuvos Dujos (Lithuanian Gas) voted in favor of the gas sector reform. As to our complaint to the European competition authority in the spring of last year over unfair pricing policies, it is common knowledge," he said.

Medvedev, the deputy chairman of Gazprom's management board, was quoted on Monday by the media as saying that Lithuania was "a provocateur" of the European Commission's investigation and that the country "does not have its own understanding regarding the parameters of the contract that it would like to discuss with Gazprom."

Lithuania thinks that Gazprom applies discriminatory price policies to the country, which is the first Baltic state that is implementing EU third energy package and aims to unbundle the assets of Lietuvos Dujos, in which the Russian group holds a significant stake, by the end of 2014. Medvedev said during his visit in Vilnius earlier this year that Gazprom was not discriminating against Lithuania.

The European Commission said last week that it had opened a formal investigation into whether Gazprom might be obstructing 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 natural gas in the EU, at 1,578 litas (EUR 457.4) per 1,000 cubic meters, including capacity and transportation charges.

EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger is scheduled to visit Vilnius on 13 to 14 September to discuss EU issues and Lithuania's key energy projects with the country's officials.

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