EU-Gazprom Settlement in Antitrust Case Coming Soon: Report

A settlement between the European Union and Russian gas giant Gazprom that would see the company enter binding pledges to put an end to a seven-year-old antitrust investigation could be announced as soon as this month, The Wall Street Journal reported.

On Friday, EU antitrust officials consulted experts from member states in Brussels to seek feedback on proposals made by Gazprom, said a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named as the meeting was confidential.

The proposed deal covers issues that come up when clients wish to change the place of delivery for gas and concerns over the flexibility with which prices are reviewed, said a second person. The accord would bring to an end the EU’s antitrust probe.

The move would come amid strained relations between Moscow and the West over alleged Russian intervention in elections in the U.S. and Europe, Russian policy in Syria and the Ukrainian crisis.

Friday’s meeting is one of the final boxes the European Commission has to tick before making the announcement, said the people. The move suggests the settlement with Gazprom could be announced as soon as the week starting May 14 as EU Commissioners, who have to sign off on the accord, don’t meet before then, said the second person.

In April 2015, the European Commission said in a charge sheet known as a statement of objections that Gazprom might have imposed unfair pricing and marketing policies in some central and eastern European states. Months later, the Moscow-based exporter sought to settle the case while refusing to admit any wrongdoing.