Grybauskaite signs law to break Gazprom market control

  • 2011-07-14
  • TBT Staff

VILNIUS -- Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has signed into law a biill that will unbundle Lithuania's natural gas sector, effectively breaking Gazprom's control over the market.

The law marks the latest twist in an ongoing dispute between Lithuania and Russian gas giant Gazprom.

It allowsa the government to restructure Lithuania's national gas company, Lietuvos Dujos (Lithuanian Gas), and transfer the ownership of its gas transmission pipelines to the state in two years.The move will open up competition in the sector.

Lithuania currently receives all of its gas supplies from Gazprom, which owns 37.1 percent of Lietuvos Dujos. The Lithuanian government owns around half the number of shares controlled by Gazprom.

Russia is opposed to the law and has threatened to raise gas prices if it goes into effect. Lithuania already pays around 15% more for gas than the other Baltic states. 

The promulgation of the law comes just a few weeks after a Stockholm Arbitration Court dismissed a complaint by Gazprom over a case in Lithuanian courts accusing Lietuvos Dujos of being biased on behalf of Gazprom.