02:53 GMT +319 September 2019
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    European Commission, Gazprom May Announce Antimonopoly Dispute Settlement Friday

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    The European Commission (EC) and Russian energy company Gazprom may announce preliminary settlement of the antimonopoly dispute, media reported Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The European Commission is close to settling its charges against Gazprom and the preliminary agreement is likely to be announced this Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources, familiar with the matter.

    The newspaper also added that the European Commission extended on Tuesday the allowed usage of the Opal pipeline’s capacity by Gazprom, namely, Gazprom will be allowed to participate in the auction and bid for 30 to 40 percent of the capacity of Opal.

    The Opal pipeline connects the Nord Stream pipeline with Europe’s gas transportation network. However, European restrictions permit Gazprom only 50-55 percent of the pipeline for Russian natural gas to be delivered across Germany to the Czech Republic.

    In August 2012, the European Commission initiated the investigation into Gazprom’s possible violation of the EU antitrust laws. According to the European Commission, terms in the Gazprom contracts were rather restrictive and imposed constraints on the customers, in particular, by prohibiting them from re-exporting gas to another country. Besides, Gazprom was accused of tying the price of gas to that of oil. Gazprom denied all accusations.

    In April 2015, it adopted a Statement of Objections within the framework of the investigation. The European Commission accused Gazprom of abusing its dominant position in several Central and Eastern European gas markets – namely, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia.

    Earlier, media reported that Gazprom and EC antimonopoly bodies may resolve the dispute in late October. The details were planned to be discussed at the meeting this month. The Russian government intends to participate in the discussions on the dispute’s resolution.

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