Middle East

EXCLUSIVE Qatar Petroleum no longer in EU antitrust crosshairs – sources

BRUSSELS, Feb 11 (Reuters) – Qatar Petroleum is unlikely to face further EU antitrust action three years after EU regulators opened an investigation into its 20-year gas contracts on concerns that these may hinder the development of a single gas market in the 27-country bloc, sources said.

The state-owned company, renamed QatarEnergy, found itself in the EU antitrust crosshairs in 2018 as the European Commission started an investigation into whether its liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply deals with European utilities barred them from diverting shipments within the region.

The move came after the EU competition enforcer ended a seven-year market abuse probe into Gazprom, accepting a pledge by the Russian gas giant to reform its pricing structure and allow rivals a foothold in eastern Europe.

The Commission is not expected to take further action against QatarEnergy, the sources said.

The EU executive said it had conducted extensive fact-finding into the case and that the investigation is ongoing.

“We cannot prejudge its timing or outcome,” a spokesperson said.

The European Union is talking to top LNG producer Qatar, the United States and other suppliers about boosting gas deliveries to Europe amid concerns over supply from Russia.

The EU antitrust case is not related to the ongoing gas issue, the sources said.

Qatar however sees it differently. Last month, it asked for the EU investigation to be dropped in order for them to supply emergency gas. read more

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by David Evans

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