Welcome to the world of free trade ! Within days, the EC announced proceedings against Gazprom under Competition law, on three counts, focusing on Gazprom's activities in Eastern Europe:
- hindering the free flow of gas by use of 'no-resale' clauses in contracts;
- preventing diversification of supply by frustrating third-party access to, and development of, gas infrastructure;
- insisting on pricing gas using oil-indexed pricing formulae.
On the second you may have a bit more trouble because there will be less of a paper-trail, and some of the European companies who could spill the beans are strongly inclined not to. Nil desperandum, because to establish charge no.3 you need only read the collected public works of Gazprom speakers at energy conferences over the past 5 years.
Putin seems to be sweating a little over this (wonder why ?) and has rushed to hinder the process. As well he might because there is no telling where this could eventually lead. (Hint to EC: broaden your scope to Italy ...)
What has triggered this action ? You may recall that, of the two big German energy companies that have been bleeding white from importing oil-indexed Russian gas, E.on - always much closer to Gazprom - settled earlier this year but RWE was hanging in for much bigger concessions, and they gave fair warning. This is RWE's ace: they have made several large acquisitions in the Eastern European energy sector, thorough which they obtained all the paperwork necessary to prove the case.