Since the annexation of the Crimea, Russia has illegally extracted over 3.5 billion cubic meters of gas from the Odessa gas field, as reported by Hromadske citing Svitlana Nezhnova, Chairman of the Board of the state-owned joint-stock company Chornomornaftogaz (the company considers itself as the legal owner of oil and gas assets in the Crimea).
Replying to the question as to whether Russia plans to stop gas production at the Odessa gas field, Nezhnova answered that such statements were not made by Russian official authorities.
“Now Russia has illegally extracted 7.2 billion cubic meters of gas, half of which was from the Odessa gas field (3.5 billion cubic meters of gas). From the very beginning of the annexation, Russia knew that it was Ukraine’s economic zone. Considering that international trials are coming, maybe Russia will take some actions,” Nezhnova stressed.
According to her, seven wells were drilled before the annexation of the Crimea, and after that, another 11 were drilled. “The gas field is now used [by Russia] in full. The authorities of the Crimea are trying to illegally pump more gas from there,” Nezhnova believes.
The Odessa gas field is located on the shelf of the Black Sea, 130 kilometers from Odessa and 155 kilometers from the Crimean coast. There are about 21 billion cubic meters of gas reserves there and Ukraine started to exploit the gas field in November 2012.
Ukraine believes that Russia seized drilling rigs and other property of Chornomornaftogaz in 2014 during the annexation of the Crimea after which Naftogaz of Ukraine lost control over this enterprise and stated that it was going to sue Russia for the Crimean assets.
Ukraine initiated arbitral proceedings against Russia on February 16th, 2016. The State demands the protection of its maritime rights and compensation. The trial is related to the “illegal use of resources on the shelves of the Black and Azov Seas, the illegal use of infrastructure, and illegal exploitation,” Nezhnova stated earlier. Chornomornaftogaz considers itself as the legal owner of oil and gas assets in the Crimea. In May 2017, the first hearing in the case was held in The Hague.
Ukraine was ordered to provide to the arbitral tribunal “an evidence base” of how exactly Russia exactly “violates Ukraine’s rights” in the Black Sea by February 19, 2018. a