Gazprom commits to ensure free flow of gas in Central, Eastern Europe

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With the European Commission’s antitrust probe into Gazprom’s operations in Central and Eastern Europe nearing completion, the Russian gas giant has promised to remove barriers to the free flow of Russian gas in Lithuania and other countries in the region and to supply it at competitive prices.

“We believe that Gazprom’s commitments will enable the free flow of gas in Central and Eastern Europe at competitive prices. They address our competition concerns and provide a forward looking solution in line with EU rules. In fact, they help to better integrate gas markets in the region,” Margrethe Vestager, the commissioner in charge of competition policy, said in a press release on Monday.

According to the press release, Gazprom has committed to remove any market segmentation clauses in its gas supply contracts with CEE customers, including those in Lithuania, which should enable the free flow of gas in the region. Lithuanian customers will be able to both export and import gas to and from other EU gas markets without any restrictions resulting from Gazprom’s supply contracts.

For long term contracts, Gazprom has committed to make it enable Lithuanian customers “to ask for a renegotiation of their gas price, if it diverges from Western European price benchmarks, including prices at competitive gas hubs,” the EU’s executive body said, adding that “such contractual price revisions would be available frequently”.

“In the course of its investigation, the Commission found that the inability to refer to prices at competitive gas hubs was one of the key drivers of higher prices in Central and Eastern Europe,” it said.