The European Commission is investigating Gazprom’s German offices

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The European Commission has carried out a surprise inspection at the German offices of the Russian company Gazprom, which it suspects has caused a rise in the price of natural gas in Europe by abusing a dominant position in this market, informs AFP, quoted by Agerpres.

Russia has been suspected since last year of limiting its supply of natural gas to Europe in order to provoke a rise in prices, which worsened with the launch of the Russian offensive in Ukraine at the end of February.

The EU executive acknowledged in a statement on Thursday that it had carried out inspections with the German competition regulator “at the offices of several companies operating in the field of gas supply, transport and storage in Germany”.

Brussels has not confirmed that its investigation targeted the Russian group Gazprom, but two European sources told AFP that the investigations that took place on Wednesday targeted the offices of the Russian group, as well as of its natural gas distribution subsidiary Wingas.

“Unexpected inspections are a preliminary step in the investigation into alleged anti-competitive practices. The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that companies are guilty of anti-competitive behavior and does not prejudice the outcome of the investigation itself, “said the EU executive.

The invasion of Ukraine, launched on February 24, led to the explosion of the European reference price for natural gas, which on March 7 reached an all-time high of 345 euros per MWh. In the meantime, the quotations fell lower, without returning below the threshold of 100 euros, and on Thursday morning they stood at 125 euros for a MWh, compared to less than 50 euros in the same period last year.

The war in Ukraine has highlighted the European Union’s extreme dependence on Russian natural gas, which accounts for 40% of its consumption, which limits the EU’s ability to act against Moscow. Since the start of the war, the 27 EU states have adopted unprecedented sanctions against Russia, but have refrained from targeting the natural gas sector, even though it is a key source of revenue for Russia, which can thus fund its war effort. AFP also writes.