The Russian government holds a majority stake in Gazprom, which produces, transports and distributes natural gas domestically and abroad.
In a speech to the Annual International Business Congress in Vienna, Austria, on May 25, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller stressed the advantages of natural gas versus clean energy. He also described his company as a reliable business partner and one of the major forces boosting global economy.
”When Gazprom’s consumers send us a request for gas offtake, they can be absolutely sure that they will receive that gas at the delivery point, right on time and in the amount agreed upon between the parties,” Miller said.
Miller’s description of Gazprom, however, differs from how the company is viewed by customer-countries and experts.
“This, of course, is an outrageous lie and a standard one,” Anders Åslund, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told Polygraph.info.
“All along, Gazprom has claimed that they are impeccably reliable, while they have cut gas supplies repeatedly to all East European countries, notably in January 2006 and January 2009, which prompted the EU Third Energy Package,” he said.
The EU Third Energy Package is legislation adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union in 2009. It is aimed at regulating and diversifying Europe’s gas and electricity market.
The legislation was initiated after Gazprom repeatedly cut off supplies to multiple European countries in the middle of winter.
In September 2012, the European Commission launched an antitrust investigation of Gazprom involving eight EU countries. Lithuania stepped forward as a whistleblower in the case.
After more than six years of investigation, Gazprom pledged to comply with the requirements of the EU competition law.
However, the antitrust investigation is ongoing, with member-countries urging the EU Commission to take a “tough” stance against Gazprom.
On May 30, Poland’s state-run energy firm PGNiG (Polish Oil and Gas Company) described Gazprom as an “unreliable supplier” and the gas giant’s policies as “exploitation” and “economic blackmail.
In June 2014, Gazprom and Ukraine’s Naftogaz lodged multi-billion-dollar claims against each other with a Stockholm arbitration court that resolves commercial disputes. On May 31, Naftogaz claimed victory in the case against Gazprom.
Earlier this week, Norway, a country that has maintained broad economic ties with Russia despite the Western sanctions targeting Moscow for actions against Ukraine, announced it is seeking greater scope to restrict foreign ownership of offshore resources. Observers say the move may be in response to Russia’s growing interest in Norway’s Arctic oil and gas fields.