EC, Gazprom should hold talks on new commitments - Energy Minister
The European Commission and the Russian gas giant Gazprom should hold negotiations on new commitments, as the current ones no longer reflect the reality and will have no effect upon Central and Eastern European gas markets, says Energy Minister Zygimantas Vaiciunas.
Lithuania's Energy Minister has submitted a stance to the EC, which is about to complete its investigation into Gazprom's domination on the market, saying that the concern's commitments were insufficient and would not change the situation. In Vaiciunas' words, the EC should take the remarks into consideration, as other countries are also unhappy with Gazprom's commitments.
"It was not only Lithuania that gave this response to the so-called market test. As far as I know, the proposals will also come from Latvia, Estonia and Poland, so this is the question about assessment of positions of all countries. Various further steps are possible, consultations with the European Commission are possible, however, in my opinion, the proposals inevitably mean that the European Commission will have to open a new round of negotiations on the commitments in the direction of stepping up the commitments. In the opposite case, fines are possible, and it is a legal possibility in this case, if a consensus on the commitments cannot be reached," Vaiciunas told the national radio LRT.
In his words, the EC probe demonstrates that Gazprom has to adapt to the European Union law, while Lithuania wants the Russian concern to follow all rules.
Vaiciunas criticized Gazprom's commitments on the possibility to review gas prices in long-term contracts and facilitated supplies, with a possibility to revise gas delivery points and on easier use of infrastructure. In his words, the commitments no longer match the market situation, as long-term contracts are no longer relevant.
"We're saying that the market situation has changed completely. Long-term contracts are virtually no longer relevant, therefore, we are saying very clearly that the commitment are rather theoretical. This means that their application in practice is very limited, and the market effects are minor. This is more of a theoretical commitment, there are numerous additional conditions, scores of additional points that have no actual benefit for our market,"the minister said.
In his words, this is why Lithuania has advised the European Commission to seek firmer commitments on Gazprom's part.