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Will Ukraine be able to force Gazprom to pay $6.84bn?

Kiev’s Economic Court has ruled that Gazprom should pay $6.84bn as fine and late fee to Ukraine’s Anti-Monopoly Committee.

In UAH, the fine makes up 171bn, with the late fee amounting to 85.9bn.

The fine was imposed for Gazprom’s alleged abuse of its monopoly on Ukraine’s gas transit market. But, according to the Russian legislation, Gazprom is the only company having the right to export pipeline gas in Ukraine. They in Kiev ignore this circumstance as well as the fact that no other foreign company has so far expressed interest in gas transit via Ukraine.

Gazprom appealed against the Committee’s decision but his appeal was dismissed. The Committee counteracted by asking Kiev’s Economic Court to force the Russian company to pay the money.

“It was an expected outcome. This is an act of legal extremism and we will appeal against it to international courts. Now the only question is how far Ukraine will go in its insanity and will it try to force Gazprom to pay the money. The point here is that Gazprom has no assets in Ukraine and all they in Kiev can ‘seize’ is its transit gas, ” says Alexey Grivach, Deputy Director General of the National Energy Security Foundation.

Igor Yushkov, senior analyst at the National Energy Security Fund, told EADaily earlier that the Ukrainians would keep that “trump” in their pocket so as to have any influence on Gazprom. “The only asset Gazprom gas in Ukraine is its transit gas but they in Kiev will seize it only if the West stops giving them loans for gas,” the expert said.

Ukrainian experts also doubt that the Kiev authorities will dare to seize Gazprom’s transit gas. “If they do this, they will face a conflict with European companies,” says Dmitry Marunich, Co-Chair of the Energy Strategies Foundation.

Experts believe that the decision of Ukraine’s Anti-Monopoly Committee is aimed at strengthening Ukraine’s position at the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, where Naftogaz claims compensation from Gazprom for unfair transit tariffs and new high prices. As EADaily reported earlier, Ukraine is ready to buy Russia’s gas but wants Gazprom to cancel its “take or pay” rule. Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak has said that they will not do it even for the sake of a new “winter package.” In mid-Dec, Brussels may host new Russia-Ukraine-EU gas talks. Last year, Gazprom agreed to suspend the “take or pay” rule during winter but this time, it is not going to do this as this is one of the claims field by Naftogaz to the Stockholm court. For Ukraine, it will be hard to survive this winter without Russian gas, so, this may be just an attempt to force Gazprom to change its mind.

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