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RWE Transgas scores in gas price dispute with Gazprom, but fight still on

BY LEOS ROUSEK

PRAGUE -- RWE Transgas, a Czech gas utility owned by RWE said it continues its fight with OAO Gazprom over new price schemes for gas supplies despite winning its separate dispute over an individual clause in its long term supply contracts with the Russian gas company.

"There are two arbitrage cases against Gazprom and I can confirm that we have won one of them which is on the so called principal of take or pay," RWE Transgas spokesman Martin Chalupsky said, referring to a provision, written into a contract, whereby one party has the obligation of either taking delivery of goods or paying a specified amount, which in this case ensures Gazprom is paid either way for its gas.

Mr. Chalupsky declined to comment on whether by winning its dispute over the payment and delivery rules RWE Transgas has gained the upper hand in its key battle with Gazprom over making prices set in long term supply contracts fluctuate to reflect spot market price levels.

The other still open arbitrage case, taking place in Vienna, is about making new arrangements on prices so that they reflect market levels, Mr. Chalupsky said "We expect this arbitrage to be concluded in the first quarter."

For decades Gazprom has supplied gas to its European customers at largely firm prices set in long term contracts. New sources of LNG deep frozen gas fit for transport on tanker ships have pushed spot market gas prices below levels usually seen in long term contracts with Gazprom, which delivers its gas to Europe via pipelines. This has prompted many European utilities, including RWE Transgas, to seek new pricing schemes in their contracts with Gazprom.Utilities in other countries with gas pipeline links to Russia, including Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, have their own separate pricing disputes over gas supplies with Gazprom.

Dow Jones Newswires

10/25/2012

 

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