Gazprom to Seek Antitrust Settlement With EU Competition Chief

OAO Gazprom (GAZP) will present proposals to allay the European Union’s antitrust concerns, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said after meeting the company’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer Alexander Medvedev.

“Gazprom expressed its willingness to explore the possibility of a commitment based solution to the commission’s competition concerns,” Almunia said in an e-mailed statement after a meeting in Brussels today.

Russia’s state-owned natural gas export monopoly is suspected of abusing its dominant market power to impose unfair prices in central and eastern Europe by linking what it charges for long-term natural gas contracts to oil prices and of preventing gas from being traded between countries, the EU said when it started the probe in September 2012.

“Gazprom announced that it would present draft proposals in writing in the coming days, which the commission will assess,” said Almunia, who also met Anatoly Yanovsky, Russia’s deputy oil minister.

“We are talking about continued exchange of information on issues that the European Commission is interested in,” said Sergei Kupriyanov, a spokesman for Moscow-based Gazprom.

Gazprom today won approval from Almunia’s department at the Brussels-based European Commission for its plan to swap assets with Wintershall, an oil and gas unit of BASF SE (BAS), and gain sole control of gas supply and storage joint ventures Wingas GmbH and Wintershall Erdgas Handelshaus GmbH & Co.

The deal wouldn’t “allow Gazprom to restrict customers’ access to gas supplies, given the presence of sufficient alternative upstream suppliers,” the commission said in an e-mailed statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gaspard Sebag in Brussels at gsebag@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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