A group of MEPs from various political groups in the European Parliament called on the European Commission to investigate Gazprom’s role in the natural gas price hike, saying they suspect market manipulation.
This was reported by Bloomberg.
More than 40 MEPs sent a letter to the European Commission saying that recent actions by the state-controlled Russian gas exporter raise suspicions of deliberate attempts to use energy prices to put political pressure on Europe.
“We call on the European Commission to urgently launch an investigation into possible deliberate market manipulation by Gazprom and potential violations of EU competition rules,” lawmakers said in the letter.
Gazprom spokesman Sergey Kupriyanov said the company “needs to consult with its lawyers” about the MEPs’ claims.
In separate comments at an online meeting of the International Business Congress on Friday, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Europe is facing the start of the winter heating season with underfilled gas storage facilities.
“Because of this, we see that prices in Europe have already broken every possible record, and perhaps even those that have already been achieved will be broken in the near future,” he said.
Supply disruptions have pushed European energy prices to record highs, slashing the profits of some of the continent’s industrial giants and threatening to undermine the region’s economic recovery. According to the International Energy Agency, gas prices have more than tripled this year and may continue to rise in the coming weeks.
The lack of exports from Russia, which is replenishing its own depleted storage facilities, is one reason European gas storage facilities are less full than usual at this time of year. Deliveries to the continent have also been limited by field service in Norway, while the availability of liquefied natural gas cargoes has been limited by plant shutdowns in the United States due to hurricanes.
EU lawmakers cited Gazprom’s shutdown of some production facilities, its inability to secure transportation capacity through existing pipelines, and its refusal to guarantee additional summer supplies to fill European storage facilities as grounds for their accusations.
The European Commission confirmed on Friday that it had received the letter, but refrained from commenting on any possible action.
Recall that Gazprom announced the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline on September 10.
The process of obtaining permission to launch Nord Stream 2 may take about four months, which means it will last until early 2022.