The Commission has declared the commitments offered by GDF Suez (a French energy company) to increase competition in the French gas market, legally binding under Article 9 of Regulation 1/2003 on the implementation of the EU Treaty’s competition rules.

The Commission was concerned that GDF Suez’s behaviour may have prevented access to the French gas market and infringed Article 102 of the TFEU (abuse of a dominant position) due to its long term reservations for most of France’s gas import capacity, coupled with its investment and capacity allocation strategy at gas import terminals in France. If new competitors are prevented from accessing gas import infrastructures, they are prevented from accessing the market and market development and competition are adversely affected.

GDF Suez has agreed to free-up a large share of its long-term reservations of gas import capacity into France, ultimately reducing its share to below 50% in order to encourage new competitors to enter the market. The Commission consulted with interested parties in July, who confirmed that they believed the commitments were sufficient to remedy the Commission’s competition concerns, and has now agreed their suitability.

The Commission’s decision is legally binding and GDF Suez may be fined up to 10% of its total annual turnover by the Commission if it breaches its commitments, regardless of whether EU competition rules have been infringed.

IP/09/1872 – 3 December 2009