Gazprom: EU Wrong to Assume Company Behaves Anticompetitively

FRANKFURT (Dow Jones Newswires), Nov. 8, 2011

Gazprom said Tuesday it was surprised by raids carried out by European Union authorities in September, and said it believes allegations of anti-competitive behavior against the Russian natural gas monopoly will prove unfounded.

Gazprom's Deputy Chief Executive Alexander Medvedev said European antitrust authorities were wrong to assume Gazprom or any of its subsidiaries aren't complying with EU competition rules.

Medvedev was speaking on the sidelines of the official opening ceremony of the Gazprom-led Nord Stream pipeline that connects Russia with western Europe through the Baltic Sea and Germany.

His comments come after the European Commission raided gas companies in central and eastern Europe, including subsidiaries of energy giants such as E.ON and Gazprom on suspicions that they might have breached EU competition rules or would have information about such breaches.

People familiar with the matter said at the time that the raids are related to suspicion of anti-competitive clauses in some of Gazprom's gas supply deals with European partners.

"I believe that it was a wrong assumption and I'm rather sure with the results of the investigation it will be crystal clear that there is no basis for such an act," Medvedev said.

He also said Gazprom is ready to help improve competition on the European energy market.

"If we have somebody who is bringing competition to the market it is Gazprom through its subsidiaries because we have gas, we have know-how, and we are ready to compete," Medvedev said.

Gazprom has been keen on expanding its position on the lucrative western European energy markets, where prices are higher than in Russia.

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