Gas: EU raid against Gazprom partners
29 September 2011
"Power struggle over gas cartel", headlines Die Presse on the latest clash between the Kremlin and the European Commission on energy policy. On September 27, EU officials turned up at some two dozen gas companies in 10 EU states to carry out an unusually close inspection. The aim was to reveal how the Russian energy giant Gazprom systematically violates the rules of Europe's internal market in order to block access to smaller competitors. “To watch EU inspectors take away computers from the hands of Yury Kaluzhsky, the Russian vice-president of the EuRoPol Gaz (48% owned by Gazprom)…Priceless”, enthused a source for Warsaw's Gazeta Wyborcza. If the accusation of market manipulation is confirmed, energy companies like the German RWE, or E.on face a fine of about 10 % of their annual turnover.
“Europe’s dependency on Gazprom grows”, worries GW, warning that by the end of the year Gazprom will start pumping gas through Nord Stream pipeline to Germany and may soon seal its “gas monopoly” in Central Europe with the construction of the South Stream pipeline. "Where is the big surprise?", wonders Die Presse. "For the time being, every alternative is too expensive. Climate policy forces to shut down coal power stations and the Fukushima disaster tempered the 'nuclear renaissance'".