news 08 Jun 16

European Commission Probes Romanian Gas Companies

European Commission officials carried out inspections at the premises of Romgaz, OMV Petrom and Transgaz, key players in the natural gas sector, on suspicion that they violated anti-trust rules.

Romania Insider
Bucharest
Photo: Wikipedia/Glen Dillon.

Officials from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition and the Competition Council in Romania conducted unannounced inspections of the companies involved in the supply and transport of natural gas in Romania on June 6, according to an EC statement on Tuesday.

“The Commission has concerns that the companies involved may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and/or the abuse of a dominant market position,” the EC statement said.

“The Commission is investigating potential anticompetitive practices in the transmission and supply of natural gas in Romania, in particular relating to suspected anticompetitive behaviour aimed at hindering natural gas exports from Romania to other member states,” it added.

The inspectors targeted Romanian gas producers Romgaz and OMV Petrom and gas transporter Transgaz. They are reported to have confiscated the phones of OMV Petrom board members, according to sources quoted by Ziarul Financiar.

The three companies have confirmed the inspections took place and said they were cooperating with the investigators.

Romania’s Competition Council has also been helping with the investigation, which is the first such operation carried out by the European Commission in Romania.

Last summer, the European Commission decided to refer Romania to the EU’s Court of Justice because it has not adopted an emergency plan on the security of natural gas supply, an obligation that should have been met three-and-a-half years ago.

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