(Adds Petrobras statement in last paragraph)
By Ana Mano
SAO PAULO, Aug 8 (Reuters) - The superintendent’s office of Brazil’s antitrust regulator Cade recommended penalizing state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA for anti-competitive behavior in the natural gas distribution market, according to a statement from Cade on Monday.
The case will now be tried before Cade’s tribunal at a date yet to be determined. The complaint was made to Cade by rival natural gas distributor Comgas.
The complaint investigated by Cade showed Petrobras’ alleged “discriminatory” behavior began in 2011, when the state-run company introduced a discount on the prices of natural gas transported on its network. The discount policy ended in 2015.
Petrobras natural gas supply contracts penalized Comgas’ gas distribution business because of an unfair pricing policy on gas from Bolivia, Cade said.
According to Cade, Petrobras gave price discounts to its own distributor that operated adjacent to Comgas in the natural gas distribution market of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest.
Petrobras said there is no definitive antitrust watchdog decision on the complaint filed by Comgas. In a statement, Petrobras added it would “continue to act firmly to defend its rights.” (Reporting by Ana Mano; editing by Bernadette Baum, W Simon and Bernard Orr)