Stockholm arbitration court will hear the Lithuanian government's multi-billion-litas suit against Russia's gas supplier Gazprom over unfair gas pricing next summer, Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius said on Thursday.
Gazprom
© Reuters/Scanpix

"The Stockholm case is proceeding according to the schedule set by the tribunal. Lithuania will file the final procedural document in late November and an oral hearing is planned for next summer," he told parliament.

Lithuania is seeking around 4.5 billion litas (EUR 1.3bn) from Gazprom for overcharging for gas between 2004 and 2012. The Stockholm arbitration proceedings were initiated by the previous government in 2012, but the current government leaders have said repeatedly that Lithuania will not withdraw the suit.

Another dispute between Gazprom and the government - international arbitration proceedings launched by the Russian gas giant under the UNCITRAL arbitration rules - is likely to be settled amicably.

Gazprom claimed in its suit that Lithuania had breached its investment promotion agreement with Russia by carrying out the unbundling of Lietuvos Dujos (Lithuanian Gas), in which the Russian company then held a significant stake. Lithuania's move was in line with the EU Third Energy Package.

With the unbundling process nearing completion now, the dispute is meaningless and what remains to be decided is how the sides will share the costs of the proceedings.

In what might be an attempt to influence the Stockholm arbitration court and, possibly, appease EU regulators, Gazprom last May cut the price of natural gas supplies to Lietuvos Dujos, which sells gas to all household users in the country, by more than 20 percent.

The European Commission is said to be preparing charges against Gazprom after a two-year investigation into the Russian group's allegedly unfair pricing practices in Lithuania and other Eastern European countries.

BNS
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