EU suspects Bulgarian energy firm of market abuse

The European Commission said Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) may have breached EU anti-trust rules by hindering competitors’ access to the nation’s gas network. It has sent a “statement of objections” […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The European Commission said Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) may have breached EU anti-trust rules by hindering competitors’ access to the nation’s gas network.

It has sent a “statement of objections” to the state-owned energy company and its subsidiaries Bulgargaz and Bulgartransgaz.

BEH is a vertically-integrated firm and its subsidiaries own or control the domestic Bulgarian gas transmission network, the only gas storage facility in Bulgaria and the capacity on the main gas import pipeline into Bulgaria, the Commission said.

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

Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy added: “We need to break down barriers so 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. The Commission must make sure that fair access is granted.”

The Commission opened an investigation into whether BEH may be abusing its dominant market position in gas markets in July 2013.

The company said in a statement: “Bulgarian Energy Holding will continue to fully cooperate with the European Commission with a view to addressing any concerns in a constructive manner.”