Gazprom sells stakes in Lithuanian gas utilities to meet competition rules

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Gazprom sells stakes in Lithuanian gas utilities to meet competition rules

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Russia’s Gazprom is selling its stakes in Lithuanian gas utility Lietuvos Dujos and the gas distribution company Amber Grid.

The buyers are Lithuanian state-owned firms EPSO-G and Lietuvos Energija. The price is 140.8 million euros.

The sale means compliance with European Union gas market rules on fair competition which say those that supply energy are not allowed to dominate ownership of the infrastructure.

Gazprom owns 37.1 percent of both firms.

“This is good news. The sale means that Lithuania and Gazprom will start conducting their business on a commercial basis, and this will eventually improve relations between Lithuania and Russia,” Arvydas Sekmokas, a former Lithuanian energy minister, told Reuters.

Lithuania’s government said this should not have an impact an agreed gas prices until next year.

Competition fine

Lithuania’s competition authority recently fined Gazprom a record 123 million Lithuanian litas (35 million euros), saying that the company had prevented competition in the Baltic state.

The company, Lithuania’s sole natural gas supplier, breached competition rules when it refused to negotiate a deal on gas exchange with Lithuanian power producer Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba in 2012, the Competition Council said in a statement.

Gazprom, the world’s top gas producer and supplier of about 30 percent of Europe’s gas needs, is also facing a European Union investigation over suspected anti-competitive behaviour, including overcharging customers and blocking rival suppliers.

with Reuters