BRUSSELS — European antitrust regulators are expected on Wednesday to charge the Russian energy giant Gazprom with abusing its dominance in natural gas markets, a move that could escalate Western tensions with Moscow.
Heavily reliant on Russia for their energy needs but deeply suspicious of Moscow, some Eastern European countries have argued that the state-controlled Gazprom has inflated prices and has quashed competition. Along with imposing fines, regulators could force the company to make its business more transparent or to give individual countries more leeway to sell the gas to other places, like Ukraine.
But any concerted push to alter Gazprom’s business model will be seen by Moscow as a new front in what it views as the West’s “economic war” against Russia, following the imposition last year of sanctions over the Ukraine crisis. The Kremlin earns significant sums from the company.