Gazprom: EC probe an economic reaction

Sept. 13, 2012 at 7:51 AM

MOSCOW, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The move by the European Commission to launch an antitrust probe against Gazprom is a reflection of the weak economy in the eurozone, a Gazprom spokesman said.

The European Commission announced the start of a 15-month investigation into Gazprom's activity in the eurozone. The commission said it was concerned that Gazprom abused its market position in the upstream natural gas sector in Central and Eastern Europe.

Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said the company has tried to reach out to European leaders to address any issues during the course of 2012 but "hasn't been heard."

He suggested the measure may be a reflection of a weak economy in some EU members.

"This is an attempt to meet the economic challenges of the EU, particularly of its new member countries, Eastern Europe, at the expense of Russia," he said.

European consumers get about 20 percent of their natural gas from Russian suppliers.

Gazprom's relationship with Europe stretches back more than 40 years, Kupriyanov said. Since then, there have been no issues that either side couldn't address through negotiations.

The Russian company, in a statement, said it "scrupulously" meets the letter of the law in all countries where it conducts business.

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