The European Commission awaits from large national energy companies to sell off their power grids and gas pipelines, to boost competition and shield markets from outsiders such as Russia's gas monopoly OAO Gazprom.
Gazprom, which already supplies 25 percent of Europe's gas, is interested in expanding in Europe. A look at some of what it already owns:
-50 percent minus one share of gas distributor Wingas GmbH, with the rest owned by BASF AG.
_- percent of Verbundnetz Gas AG, which distributes gas in Germany.
-50 percent of Interconnector natural gas pipeline between Britain and continental Europe.
-100 percent of Pennine Natural Gas Ltd., which supplies between 0.5 and 1 percent of British industrial customers.
-48 percent stake in EuRoPol Gaz, the company that runs the Yamal gas pipeline through Poland to consumers in Germany and Western Europe - sparring for control with Poland's state-owned Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo, or PGNiG, which also owns 48 percent, as Gazprom seeks to cut transit fees for the 700-kilometer (435 mile) Polish segment of the pipeline.
-25 percent of Gasum, which distributes gas to Finnish customers.
-37.1 percent of Lietuvos Dujos, Lithuania's main natural gas company.
-99.5 percent of Kauno Termofikacine Elektrine, or Kaunas Heat and Power Plant.
-34 percent of Latvijas Gaze, the country's main natural gas supplier.
-37.02 percent of natural gas supplier AS Eesti Gaas.
-Germany: E.On owns a small stake of Gazprom and the two companies work closely together.
-Italy: Struck a deal this week with Eni SpA's Saipem to help build a Baltic Sea gas pipeline.
-Austria: Joined up with OMV AG in May to make a gas hub and storage point in Baumgarten, Austria, the most important in continental Europe.