Lithuania: Court upholds antitrust fine on Gazprom

A Lithuania court upheld on Monday a 35.7 million euro antitrust fine on Russian gas giant Gazprom for restricting competition in the Baltic state.

In June last year Lithuania’s Competition Council fined Gazprom, the sole gas supplier in the country at that time, for refusing to negotiate a virtual gas swap with state-owned energy group Lietuvos Energija.

By refusing to negotiate the swap deal, Gazprom had sought to retain its monopoly, and therefore the Competition Council had a right to impose the fine, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court said in its verdict on Monday, dismissing Gazprom’s appeal.

Lietuvos Energija had wanted to buy cheaper gas in Germany and swap it for more expensive gas delivered by Gazprom to Lithuania.

Gazprom sold its stakes in Lithuanian gas utility Lietuvos Dujos and a grid company Amber Grid soon after the Competition Council’s decision to impose the fine.

Lithuania opened a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at the end of 2014, to reduce its dependence on Russia, and started to import super-cooled gas by tankers from Norway, ending Gazprom’s supply monopoly.

In September this year, the Russian supplier rejected EU antitrust charges that it had abused its dominant position by levying excessive prices on customers in eastern Europe. Gazprom said the charges had no economic or legal basis.

Full content: Reuters

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