The European Union’s antitrust probe into Gazprom’s operations is aimed at having the Russian energy giant lower gas prices, Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said in an interview.
“All these actions are being taken for one purpose only – to make Gazprom reduce the price of the gas it supplies,” Shuvalov told Euronews.
“But if you get a very low price of gas, then production will begin to decline, then, later, that will lead to a sharp increase in the prices of these… raw materials,” he said.
Shuvalov gave an interview to Euronews as he visited Berlin for the 60th anniversary of the Eastern Committee of German Economy, the news channel reported.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, in September launched a probe into three suspected violations of anti-monopoly regulations by Russia’s gas giant in Central and Eastern Europe, which could affect Gazprom’s $60 billion gas export business in Europe.
Gazprom, which considers the probe an effort by the EC to pressure Russia into lowering gas prices, could face a fine of up to ten percent of its annual revenue – about ten billion euros – if the suspected violations are proved.
In a move to protect the gas giant, President Vladimir Putin in September signed a decree on expanding the government’s ability to assist major Russian companies that face investigations abroad.