The energy remains an area in the attention of the Competition Council and in 2015 the President of the institution, Bogdan Chiriţoiu, announced the launch of the activity report for the previous year: “Regarding the energy we have a concern, because it is an area heavily regulated and prone to oligopolies”. There won’t be penalties at the level of previous years, but in the coming months the lawsuits started by six distribution companies should be completed, that were fined in 2011 for illegal agreement to limit or control the production or the marketing of a product by withdrawing from the market of an gasoline assortment with metallic additives.
The fine of about 200 million Euro – the biggest decided by the Council – has already been received, although a final decision is still awaited from the Supreme Court. OMV Petrom, OMV Petrom Marketing, Rompetrol Downstream, ENI Romania, MOL Romania Petroleum and Lukoil Romania challenged fines. According to Chiriţoiu, the Council won five lawsuits at the Court of Appeal, but the final confrontation is at the High Court of Cassation and Justice.
Regarding the energy we have a concern, because it is an area heavily regulated and prone to oligopolies
Between the Council’s 2015 priorities are and update of the legislation, regarding a state aid for the integrated retrieve of the European directive. The core here is the transfer decision, regarding the national aid, assigned before the checking at the Commission. There are five companies that are primarily targeted for years, that are in severe financial difficulties, two of them with an important role in energy: Oltchim, CFR Calatori, CFR Marfa, Complexul Energetic Oltenia and Complexul Energetic Hunedoara.
“We need to find solutions with the Government and the European Commission in order to make them viable again and save these companies,” explained Chiriţoiu supported in this approach by the Prime Minister Victor Ponta and Gert-Jan Koopman, Deputy General Manager at the Department of State Aid, DG Competition, European Commission.
According to a project performed by the Ministry of Energy, the government wants to give Complex Energetic Hunedoara an individual State aid in the form of a six-month loan of nearly 100 million Lei, money from privatization, and that requires the manufacturer of coal and energy to separate its legal activities and implement a restructuring program. The explanatory of the project states that this aid has already been approved by the Competition Council on March 20th and was notified to the European Commission. “The European Commission has been notified and we expect next week its approval of the state aid,” said Bogdan Chiriţoiu
In the energy area, the Competition Council also aims to conclude the ongoing sector inquiry on the gas market and also to pursue the liberalization of the market. Bogdan Chiriţoiu referred again to the introduction of financial instruments, in order to support the main operators on the market, regarding the liberalization.
In 2014, the Competition Council launched in a public debate a Report on the preliminary results of the sector inquiry regarding the electricity market in Romania.