A PYMNTS Company

EU: Antitrust officials in tight spot with surprise Russia South Stream plan

 |  December 2, 2014

EU competition officials are now considering their next move following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unexpected announcement that the nation would drop plans to run the controversial South Stream oil pipeline to Bulgaria, instead altering its route through Turkey.

The project has been under the European Commission’s spotlight for several months when competition officials found that Russia’s gas giant Gazprom would harm competition by controlling both half of the pipeline as well as its entire capacity. Since Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, the EU has ended all discussions with Russia regarding the project, and the investigation has been in limbo.

Putin blamed the Commission for his decision to drop the South Stream plans, but reports say EU officials deflected the blame and said discussions would continue. An EU energy spokesperson said this week that “Gas pipelines in Europe must be built and operated in line with EU legislation,” adding that discussions would resume next week to explore how the South Stream project can align itself with EU energy and competition rules.

The EU has been looking to reduce its dependence on Russian oil, but the objective has proven difficult due to a lack of alternative suppliers.

Full content: Wall Street Journal

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.