Warsaw, March 1, 2019
Bulgarian private gas operator Overgas Inc. has joined the lawsuit in which PGNiG challenged the decision of the European Commission on the antitrust case against Gazprom, PGNiG reported on March 1, 2019.
The report says that on February 28, 2019, the EU Court informed PGNiG that Overgas Inc. had joined PGNiG’s complaint against the decision of the European Commission. This was apparently inspired by Lithuania’s example, which does not file a separate appeal against the EC but does support Poland’s appeal submitted by PGNiG to the European Court of Justice.
The antitrust case against Gazprom turned out to be resonant, and debates over it are still ongoing. In May 2018, the EC stopped the antitrust investigation against Gazprom which was started in 2012 based on complaints from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Bulgaria. The above countries have accused the Russian gas giant of abusing market conditions and over-pricing gas.
Gazprom agreed to adjust gas prices in Eastern Europe according to those of the rest of Europe and to decline proposals restricting gas re-exports to competitive countries in Central and Eastern Europe. The EC and Gazprom agreed to settle the dispute, and the proceedings did not result in any fines.
However, not everyone was happy. In October 2018, PGNiG appealed the decision of the European Commission on the antitrust case of Gazprom. PGNiG claims:
- The EC approached the issue without due diligence, taking its position in clear contradiction with the evidence collected and in violation of a number of procedural rules of the EU legislation.
- The liabilities imposed on Gazprom were not adequate to the damage that Central European companies suffered as a result of the Russian company’s activities that did not comply with EU standards.
In response, the EC declared its willingness to conduct proceedings with Poland in order to defend its decision of ending the antitrust case against Gazprom with no fines.
PGNiG SA is the leader in the Polish natural gas market. It is a listed company operating in the exploration and production of natural gas and crude oil. Through its key companies, PGNiG is also active in the import, storage, sale, and distribution of gas and liquid fuels, as well as heat and electricity generation. The company was founded in 1976. It sells oil and gas in Libya, Pakistan, the Czech Republic, Denmark, and Germany.
Overgas Inc. distributes and sells gas on the Bulgarian market and is the largest private gas company in Bulgaria.
By Aleksei Afonin, Russian Oil & Gas Translation Services
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