The European Commission has announced the opening of separate competition proceedings against the German energy company RWE and the Italian energy company ENI for allegedly abusing their respective dominant positions in their national wholesale natural gas markets. ENI is suspected of capacity hoarding and strategic underinvestment in the transmission system in Italy. RWE is accused of hindering competitors’ access to capacity on gas transport infrastructure in Germany. The Commission’s preliminary view is that such behaviour of both companies was aimed at excluding potential competitors from the market (ie, so-called market foreclosure) and thus possibly constitutes an infringement of the EC Treaty. Both cases are being launched on the basis of information gathered during dawn raids carried out in May 2006.
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