(QHA) -

Russia is to file its second formal complaint against the EU with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the EU's so-called 'Third Energy Package', reports EUobserver.

Under the Third Energy Package, if Gazprom wants to continue its presence on the EU market, it must be split in two companies – one that extracts gas and one that transports it. In addition, is the operating companies are controlled by non-EU entities, they must be certified to cover additional requirements.

Russia claims that its state-owned energy giant Gazprom is the only company with the right to export gas and that the EU rules should not be backdated to cover contracts signed before 2009.

"These and other elements of the Third Energy Package, in the opinion of Russia, contradict the obligations of the EU in WTO on basic principles of non-discrimination and market access," Maksim Medvedkov, a trade spokesman in Russia's Economic development ministry, told Russian news agencies.

The Third Energy Package affects another major Russian gas interest – the South Stream gas pipeline.

Under WTO procedures, EU and Russian trade officials will have 60 days to try and settle their differences before further legal action is taken. The next step would be for the WTO to set up an arbitration panel to review the case. Ultimately, the WTO has the power to impose either a change of policy or economic sanctions.