February 28, 2020 / 10:52 AM / a month ago

EU to investigate French gas storage mechanism, Corsica maritime services

BRUSSELS, Feb 28 (Reuters) - EU competition regulators on Friday opened an investigation into a French regulation mechanism for natural gas storage that involves Storengy, Geomethane and Terega, saying the scheme constitutes state aid.

Introduced in December 2017, the scheme aimed to ensure that France has sufficient storage capacity. The three companies received 540 million euros last year.

The European Commission said France had not done an independent economic evaluation of the market value of the assets and it doubted that the potential positive impact of the scheme outweighs its potential negative impact on competition and trade.

Separately, the Commission also launched an investigation into public service delegation contracts for maritime services to Corsica awarded in June last year, saying that they constitute state aid.

Companies will have to repay state aid if this is found to have given them an unfair advantage. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)

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