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Gazprom Loses Key Contract Dispute

RWE Transgas, the Czech unit of Germany's RWE, has won a landmark dispute with Gazprom over gas contracts, after a court ruled for the first time that a company did not have to pay fines under a "take-or-pay" clause.

The verdict is likely to play into the hands of Gazprom's disgruntled clients in Europe, who may follow RWE and challenge the Russian giant's take-or-pay claims, under which they must buy a minimum amount of gas or pay fines.

A spokesman for RWE Transgas, the republic's dominant gas importer, said Wednesday that the company had successfully fought off a claim from Gazprom in a court in Vienna.

"I can only confirm that RWE Transgas is the winner against Gazprom in the take-or-pay dispute over long-term contracts," RWE Transgas spokesman Martin Chalupsky said.

"We are pleased with the court's decision," he said. "It will reduce our financial burden resulting from the contract by triple-digit-million euros per year."

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