Commission charges Bulgarian Energy Holding with gas market abuse

Margrethe Vestager, Member of the European Commission in charge of Competition. 20 November. [EC]

Margrethe Vestager [European Commission]

The European Commission has charged state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding with breaching EU antitrust rules by hindering competitors’ access to the country’s gas network.

The Commission has sent a statement of objections to Bulgarian Energy Holding and its subsidiaries Bulgargaz and gas Bulgartransgaz, informing them of its preliminary view.

It can impose a fine of up to 10% of a company’s annual worldwide turnover if it finds evidence of market abuse.

“We need to break down barriers so that EU citizens and businesses can enjoy more competitive energy prices and security of supply. To compete on the Bulgarian gas supply markets, companies need access to BEH’s gas infrastructure,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement today (23 March).

BEH and its subsidiaries own or control the domestic Bulgarian gas transmission network, the only gas storage facility in Bulgaria and the main gas import pipeline into Bulgaria, the Commission said.

The Commission starting looking into whether BEH was abusing its dominant market position in gas in 2013. In August, it send a statement of objections concerning possible territorial restrictions in BEH’s electricity supply contracts with traders on the non-regulated Bulgarian wholesale electricity market.

“BEH will continue to cooperate with the European Commission to overcome any concerns in a constructive way,” the state-owned company said. 

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