EC's Gazprom probe's significance to Lithuania decreased – energmin
As the European Commission plans to announce about an amicable agreement with Russian gas giant Gazprom over its activity in eastern Europe, Lithuania's former and incumbent energy ministers say the Russian company's potential commitment are no longer significant for Lithuania after it diversified its gas supplies.
Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas says the Commission's decision is due on Wednesday or Thursday, adding that there's a small chance of the Commission fining Gazprom. The minister also expressed hope the giant's eventual commitments would be bigger than before.
"We have no information that it will be a fine. (…) As far as I know, they are taking that second path, the path of commitment. (…) As I said before, a year before, they were too soft. (…) I hope this version that is on the table, as far as I have heard, both officially and unofficially, contains many things Lithuania was raising and they were taken into account," Vaičiūnas told BNS Lithuania.
In his words, both the EC probe, and Gazprom's potential commitments have to do with long-term gas contracts. Vaičiūnas also added that Lithuania has balanced and diversified gas supplies, and these commitments will have no "direct strategic significance" to Lithuania.
"These commitments are related to long-term contracts, and Lithuania now only has short-term one-year contracts (with Gazprom – BNS), and I doubt that we plan to have long-term contract in the future. (…) Therefore, I believe, the application value of these commitments for Lithuania will not be very big. We couldn't really say that this probe has major significance – direct – for our markets," Vaičiūnas said.
The EC probe also had a preventive role, the energy minister believes, as Gazprom has made many market-oriented steps. "In some respect, that long period was also not a very bad thing," he said.
The Commission launched a probe into Gazprom's alleged abuse of the dominant position in 2011. Lithuania has called on Brussels to take active action against Gazprom.