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Russia and EU discussed Ukraine’s plans to seize Gazprom’s assets - source

March 08, 17:09 updated at: March 08, 21:06 UTC+3

According to the source, the meeting between Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and his European counterpart Maros Sefcovic may be organized already in the middle of next week

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Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak

© Stoyan Vasev/TASS

MOSCOW, March 8. /TASS/. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Energy Union Maros Sefcovic discussed Ukraine's intention to seize the assets of Gazprom around the world in case the company fails to comply with the Stockholm arbitration court's ruling, an EU diplomatic source familiar with the course of the talks told TASS.

According to him, Sefcovich learned from Novak about the plans of the Ukrainian party to seize the assets of Gazprom and expressed his bewilderment. The European commissioner assured the Russian minister that "the Ukrainians promised not to do this". However, the source said that before the end of the holidays the European Commission will not be able to ask Kiev about the reasons for such statements.

According to the source, the meeting between Novak and Sefcovic may be organized already in the middle of next week.

Seizure of assets

 

On February 28, the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce imposed a $2.56-billion penalty on Russian energy giant Gazprom over its gas transit dispute with Ukraine’s national oil and gas company Naftogaz.

Gazprom disagreed with the ruling and voiced its intention "to protect the rights which are available to it under the applicable law."

In this regard, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko said that Kiev will seek to seize Gazprom's assets if the Russian party does not comply with the decision of the Stockholm Arbitration.

On February 29, Gazprom returned the money Naftogaz paid for gas supplies in March and said that would not start them due to the lack of the approved supplementary agreement to the current contract.

Naftogaz CEO Andrey Kobolev took this as the refusal of Gazprom to comply with the court's decisions. He also said due to lack of gas supplies from Russia Ukraine has faced a gas deficit and needs to limit fuel consumption in the country since March 6

Termination of contracts

Gazprom disagreed with the decision of the Stockholm Arbitration Institute and announced that it would immediately start the procedure for the termination of gas contracts with Naftogaz.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said that the Stockholm arbitration, "guided by double standards, adopted an asymmetric decision on our contracts with Naftogaz of Ukraine regarding supply and transit of gas." 0art

"The decision seriously violates the balance of interests of the parties under these contracts," he said.

Gazprom vs Naftogaz dispute

Gazprom and Naftogaz signed the current contract for the supply of gas to Ukraine in January 2009 and it is valid until December 31, 2019. Under the contract, the volume of supplies was to be 40 billion cubic meters of gas in 2009, and starting from 2010 - 52 billion cubic meters annually. However, since 2012, Naftogaz failed to fully intake the contracted volume. Since November 2015, Kiev has not bought Russian gas, replacing it with reverse gas from Europe.

In 2014, Gazprom and Naftogaz filed lawsuits against each other in the Stockholm Arbitration.

Ukraine sought a retroactive price change, recovery of overpayment for gas and cancellation of the "take or pay" principle.

Gazprom demanded that Naftogaz should pay arrears for gas that had been supplied earlier. Gazprom's demands for Naftogaz amounted to more than $37 bln.

The Stockholm Arbitration satisfied the requirements of the companies only partially.

In December 2017, the court ordered Naftogaz to pay Gazprom $2 bln for the deliveries, but reduced the annual contractual volume of purchases to 5 billion cubic meters. At the same time, the "take or pay" condition was preserved for 80% of this volume. This condition will be effective only in 2018.

The court also rejected most of Naftohaz's claims to Gazprom which concerned overpayment for gas. Only the price of gas received by the Ukrainian company in the second quarter of 2014 was lowered (from $485 to $352 per 1,000 cubic meters). Naftogaz wanted a retroactive price change starting from May 2011.

In the gas transit contract, Naftogaz and Gazprom agreed that the Russian holding will pump 110 billion cubic meters of gas through Ukraine annually. However, the contract notes that the annual volume is specified in additional agreements to the contract, depending on the obligations of Gazprom to European consumers.

Naftogaz demanded that Gazprom should pay $17 bln for the failure to supply the agreed volumes for transit. It also sought the revision of tariffs and conditions for the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine.

The Stockholm court ruled that Gazprom should pay about $ 4.7 bln to Naftogaz (taking into account the satisfied counter claims, Gazprom has to pay $ 2.56 bln). At the same time, Gazprom said that the arbitration court rejected Naftogaz's demands to increase the tariff for gas transit and change the contract in accordance with Ukrainian legislation.

Gazprom disagreed with the decision of the Stockholm Arbitration Institute and announced that it would immediately start the procedure for the termination of gas contracts with Naftogaz.

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