Monday

19th Nov 2018

Lithuania suing Russian energy giant Gazprom

  • Lithuania filed €1.4 billion lawsuit against Gazprom (Photo: Joffley)

Lithuania has highlighted that Russian energy giant Gazprom is facing a series of billion-euro lawsuits on alleged price-fixing, as well as the recently-opened European Commission probe.

Vilnius is prosecuting a €1.4 billion legal action against it at the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal for alleged distortion of gas prices in Lithuania between 2004 and 2012.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Lithuania's Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius on Wednesday (3 October) said in a statement that German and Polish companies have also filed Gazprom cases.

"In this respect Lithuania is following suit," said Kubilius.

Lithuania is entirely dependent on Gazprom for its gas supplies and imports more than 80 percent of its energy from Russia.

The small Baltic nation sold off its majority share in AB Lietuvos dujos, its national gas operator, to Gazprom some 10 years ago.

Lithuania's energy minister Arvydas Sekmokas pointed out that prices went from $84 dollars in 2004 to $497 in 2012 per 1,000 cubic metres of gas, reports the AFP.

Lithuania claims Gazprom assigned board members to AB Lietuvos dujos who then agreed to inflate energy prices.

"These board members could have acted in the interest of Gazprom rather than AB Lietuvos dujos, when casting their vote regarding amendments to the gas supply agreement," said Kubilius’ office in a statement.

The decision to file the lawsuit was influenced by the 4 September launch of a European Commission probe into allegations of price fixing by the energy giant in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia.

"The fact that the European Commission started an official inquiry into the Gazprom’s suspected unfair price policy in central and eastern Europe is of crucial importance," Kubilius noted.

The commission claims Gazprom may have divided gas markets by obstructing the free flow of gas across member states, deliberately obstructed the diversification of gas supply and imposed unfair prices.

Gazprom initially dismissed the investigation as an EU attempt to extort money for poor member states. Russian President Vladimir Putin later passed a law to block the company from co-operating with EU anti-trust officials.

Meanwhile, the closure of Lithuania’s Ignalina power plant may have aggravated its energy dependency.

Vilnius claims the plant produced more than 70 percent of its electricity but was required to shut down production as a pre-condition for joining the EU in 2004. Plans for a new power plant are underway.

Lithuania is also unable to import electricity from other EU countries because of its Soviet-era network but is currently working on a number of projects to expand its energy systems with Sweden, Poland and regional Baltic states.

Time for EU energy union, says Polish PM

The European Union must create an energy union to secure its supply and reduce its dependence on Russian gas, Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk has said.

News in Brief

  1. Ireland extradites Polish man despite rule of law concerns
  2. Germany and France agree eurozone budget framework
  3. Austrian foreign minister: EU's Israel policy 'too strict'
  4. Soros and Kurz discuss Central European University move
  5. EU set to tighten rules on foreign strategic investment
  6. Macron repeats call for unified Europe in Bundestag speech
  7. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  8. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem

Opinion

Macron's 'European army': why is everyone talking about it?

Few people commented on one key point in Macron's statement: he did not justify the idea of a European army by the need to intervene in Africa, which would have been France's traditional approach. Instead, he invoked the Russian threat,

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Panic is not answer to EU's security challenges
  2. Dutch flesh out proposal for EU human rights sanctions
  3. EU cheerleaders go to Russia-occupied Ukraine
  4. EU must recognise new force for Balkans destabilisation
  5. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  6. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  7. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  8. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us