On 19 March 2009 the Commission notified it’s preliminary view to ENI that ENI may be abusing its dominant position by refusing to grant competitors access to capacity available on the Italian gas supply network; granting access in an impractical manner; and strategically limiting investment in its international transmission pipeline system. The Commission considered this amounted to capacity hoarding and capacity degradation and strategic underinvestment. ENI is the main gas company in Italy both for the transport of gas and its supply in the downstream market to companies and households.
In order to settle this investigation with the Commission, ENI submitted a series of commitments, which were made legally-binding by a decision on 29 September. According to these commitments, ENI is to divest its shares in the companies that own three international transport pipelines into Italy (the TAG, TENP and Transitgas pipelines). These commitments are expected to increase the opportunity for other companies to transport gas into Italy, opening up competition on the Italian market to the benefit of gas consumers and addressing the conflict of interest resulting from the vertical integration of ENI in both the transport and supply of gas.
The divestiture of the shares will be carried out under the supervision of a trustee and the buyers will need to be approved by the Commission.