The European Commission formally charged Germany's E.ON and France's Gaz de France, two leading gas suppliers in Europe, with market sharing.The European Union (EU) antitrust watchdog said it had sent a statement of objection to both companies concerning their alleged agreement or concerted practice to keep out of each other's home market for the supply of gas.
A statement of objection is a formal step in EU antitrust investigations in which the commission informs the parties concerned in writing of the charges raised against them.
According to the statement, the alleged infringement by E.ON and Gaz de France took the form of a suspected agreement and concerted practice that the two companies would not sell gas in the other party's home market to any significant extent.
It concerned in particular supplies of natural gas transported over the MEGAL pipeline, which is jointly owned by E.ON and Gaz de France and transports gas across southern Germany. It is the major route for the supply of Russian gas to Germany and France.
If found guilty, E.ON and Gaz de France could face fines of up to 10% of their annual global turnover for each year of the offense.
EU antitrust officials began their investigation into the two companies last July amid concerns over soaring energy prices and too much control by big companies over Europe's energy sector. (Xinhua)