“ACE in the hole” in the dispute between Gazprom and Naftogaz

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"Туз в рукаве" в споре Газпрома и Нафтогаза

“Naftogaz of Ukraine”, pursuant to the decision of the Stockholm arbitration, bustles and actively arrest the European assets of Gazprom. Bailiffs surfing in offices, describing the shares, stocks, coolers and chairs. A Russian state company, it seems, is not actively involved in counteracting the seizure of his property in favor of Ukraine. Why so, and whether the Russian company has the same “ACE”?

Let me remind you, in late February 2018 to the Stockholm arbitration has obliged “Gazprom to pay Naftogaz $4.63 billion for the shortfall in transit volumes of gas. In this case , the court rejected a similar claim for Russian companies to Ukraine under the item “take or pay”, acknowledging only a debt of $2 billion for already delivered but not paid gas. The arbitral Tribunal also ordered the Russian company before the expiry of the contract in 2019 to pump through the territory of Ukraine 110 billion cubic meters of gas. Contractual obligations of Kiev on the purchase of gas was reduced to only 5 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Let me also remind you that one of the formulations of the arbitrators was “given the difficult economic situation in Ukraine”, which, of course, a Russian company, to put it mildly, surprised.

“Gazprom” has sent in court of appeals district of Svea in Sweden a new statement in which they demanded the complete abolition of arbitration decisions. In addition, “Gazprom” has directed to arbitration documents for the termination of all existing contracts with “Naftogaz”, however, termination may be delayed even after the actual expiry of the contract in 2019, and the appeal. Ukraine quickly started the procedure of debt collection.

Gazprom could pay for these $2, 56 billion, and then to challenge the decision to return the funds and so on. In the current situation of delay subject to fines. However, the company is in a hurry, as, by the way, and Moscow, which does not try similar to the Ukrainian measures to collect the same $3 billion, plus interest and penalties, which are called “duty of Yanukovych” (bought in the framework of the “assistance” of Ukrainian bonds), although the courts have ruled to pay the money Russia.

The gas giant is quite significant and real risks of losing the property. Because the arbitration decision entered into force, and despite appeals alienation occurs.

In the first “Nord stream” GP owns a 50% stake, and the other half is owned by the European owners. The arrest of these shares does not affect the operation of the pipeline. Not yet been a court decision that the shares become the property of “Naftogaz” or that they are sold at auction and the proceeds will give Ukrainian companies to repay debt. Therefore, the operational control of the company Gazprom remains the gas pipeline to pump gas, nothing changes.

With SP-2 is even simpler – the proportion of GP in this pipeline is pledged to the European colleagues. Besides, works are carried out, pipe-laying ships will be sent and so on. The right of ownership of “Gazprom” has not been alienated.

But “Naftogaz”, but actively coming on “loud” assets, although in Europe, in the countries where it can be executed the decision of arbitration from the GP a lot of assets. This can play a cruel joke with the Ukrainians. Under the new proceedings “Gazprom”, for example, will be able to say that “Naftogaz” submits claims for seizure of property not in order to get awarded by the arbitrators funds, and in order to block the activity of individual pipelines. But such arrests cannot be made. Instead, it is more expedient to arrest, for example, the accounts of “Gazprom” and not the stock SP-2 project, on which nothing is built.
The Russian company will try to prove that Kyiv is abusing its rights and does not want foreclosure, and stop gas pipelines bypassing Ukraine (which is obviously so. And then the judges will just not get out).

Arrested action the officers will probably not give Ukraine, and let out for bids. Will announce the auction in which can participate any company, including other offices of the same “Gazprom”, and will sell the seized property and the money will transfer “Naftogaz” to repay the debt. But it is worth considering that the shares of Nord stream is asset specific. While Gazprom itself provides a transit on it, it is liquid. But if the Russian company will not be the owner, it can stop to use this tube. So how, to whom and for how much bailiffs are going to sell assets, remains a mystery.

While the inaction of the GP, as Moscow looks a bit depressing. Assets of state-owned companies crawl, because someone of the judges felt that “the Ukraine.” But as they say, “not so simple”, so we will see. And, apparently, to accumulate penalties for retaliatory arrest of Ukrainian property.

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Used in the text comments of the leading experts of the national energy security Fund Igor Yushkov
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