Ukrainian Naftogaz considers filing new lawsuits against Gazprom
Naftogaz is considering the possibility of filing new lawsuits against Gazprom, the Ukrainian company’s executive director Yuriy Vitrenko wrote on Facebook.
He said that this could involve a complaint to the European anti-monopoly office regarding Gazprom’s “abuse of its dominant position”, with possible litigation in the EU Court of Justice, as well as an international arbitration in Zurich regarding the new transit contract, on the basis of Swiss law.
Naftogaz might also appeal to the Stockholm Arbitration Institute concerning the debt of the company RosUkrEnergo which Gazprom assigned to it. Before 2009, the company was an intermediary for gas deliveries to Ukraine’s internal market.
According to Vitrenko, Naftogaz recently discovered “the circumstances of Gazprom’s role in the operations with RosUkrEnergo’s debts”, which caused the Ukrainian company considerable losses.
The Naftogaz director pointed out that “it’s best to resolve all issues without litigation”, and so the company first intends to discuss them with Gazprom. If no resolution can be found, “Naftogaz will approach the political leadership of the country to seek agreements on the intergovernmental level,” he added.
At the end of December 2019, Russia and Ukraine signed a package of agreements which allowed the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine to continue. It also included an irrevocable settlement agreement in which both parties renounced all arbitration and legal disputes against each other. The document states that the parties waive all possible claims related to the gas transit contract from January 19, 2009. However, it only pertained to claims related to the gas transit contract.
The Swiss trader RosUkrEnergo was established in 2004 by Gazprom and Centragas Holding AG on a parity basis. At the time, Centragas was owned by the Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash (90%) and the former MP Ivan Fursin (10%). In 2009, Gazprom and Naftogaz signed a new contract for direct gas deliveries which excluded RosUkrEnergo. Vladimir Putin, who was Prime Minister of Russia at the time, pointed out that the agreement excluded intermediaries from gas trading. However, RosUkrEnergo owed Gazprom $1.7 billion for gas deliveries. In the end, Gazprom sold this debt to Naftogaz, which confiscated 11 billion cubic meters of gas from RosUkrEnergo that was being held in Ukraine’s underground reservoirs.