MOSCOW, December 23 (RAPSI) – A court in Lithuania has upheld a €35.6 million fine imposed on Russia’s oil giant Gazprom for anti-competitive practices including overcharging customers and blocking rival suppliers, Lrytas.lt reported.
Lithuania’s Competition Council fined Gazprom in June 2014 after investigating the attempts by Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba (formerly Lietuvos Energija) to sign a gas exchange deal with the Russian supplier. The council concluded that Gazprom’s refusal to negotiate a swap deal in 2012-2013 prevented the Lithuanian power producer from buying natural gas from other suppliers.
The council qualified Gazprom’s actions as violation of competition rules and provisions of the 2004 contract for the purchase of a 34% stake in Lithuanian gas supplier Lietuvos Dujos. The contract was approved on the condition that Gazprom would not hinder Lithuanian consumers from seeking alternative suppliers.
In February 2012, Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba asked Gazprom Export to sign a gas swap deal. As physical delivery was not possible, the Lithuanian company asked Gazprom to exchange the gas it planned to buy in Western Europe for the gas that the Russian company delivered to Lithuania via Belarus.
The fine was calculated based on Gazprom’s 2012 revenues from the sale of gas to Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba, the timeframe of the violation and related risks.
Under the European Union gas market rules designed to ensure fair competition, companies that supply energy are not allowed to dominate ownership of the infrastructure.