At the end of July 2014 the Competition Protection Commission fined Bulgargaz EAD – the sole public supplier of natural gas – approximately Lev23,377,600 (€11,952,777) for abuse of dominant position.

According to the commission, Bulgargaz conducted different exploitative practices between 2010 and 2012. The public supplier forced clients to extend the term of their contracts without the option to negotiate the contract provisions. Further, Bulgargaz obliged clients to pre-order the volume of natural gas which they expected to need over the year. This pre-order had to be calculated based on formulae which Bulgargaz unilaterally imposed on clients. The formulae resulted in an unjustified increase in the pre-ordered amounts of gas for the next year. This could have led to clients' inability to receive all of the pre-ordered gas to which they were legally entitled.

In addition, Bulgargaz imposed certain obligations on clients as conditions for extending their contracts for natural gas supply without offering any reciprocal rights. Non-fulfilment of any obligations imposed by Bulgargaz could result in termination of the contract and violation of the legal right to a continuous natural gas supply.

These practices were qualified as an exploitative abuse of Bulgargaz's dominant position towards its clients, since there were no alternative suppliers and clients were forced to continue their relationships with Bulgargaz.

For further information on this topic please contact Ilko Stoyanov or Mariya Papazova at Advokatsko Druzhestvo Andreev Stoyanov & Tsekova in cooperation with Schönherr Rechtsanwälte GmbH by telephone (+359 2 933 1072), fax (+359 2 986 1105) or email (i.stoyanov@schoenherr.bg orm.papazova@schoenherr.bg). The Advokatsko Druzhestvo Andreev Stoyanov & Tsekova website can be accessed at www.schoenherr.eu.