Gas is near, yet so far

The main asset of Gazprom in Ukraine will calmly flow beyond any arrests. 
The Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) on the eve of the decision of the Stockholm Arbitration in the dispute between Gazprom and Naftogaz of Ukraine demanded that the Ministry of Justice seize the accounts and property of the Russian company in Ukraine. It is about collecting an antimonopoly penalty imposed on Gazprom, which together with the penalties exceeds $ 6.4 billion. But, according to Kommersant, Ukraine is not ready to arrest the main asset of Gazprom in the country - the gas that goes to European consumers. Apparently, it will be possible to arrest only objects, the cost of which does not exceed several tens of millions of dollars.

The AMC intends to open an enforcement proceeding on the forced collection from Gazprom of $ 6.4 billion, the application was sent on April 11 to the State Executive Service of the Ministry of Justice of the country. This amount - imposed in January 2016 fine AMCU for $ 3.2 billion for the abuse of "Gazprom" monopoly position in the market of gas transit in Ukraine, as well as penalties for non-payment. The Russian company tried to challenge the decision of the committee in the courts, but without success. The Kyiv Economic Appeal Court dismissed the appeal on February 22, the Kyiv Economic Court sided with the AMC on March 17. But Gazprom did not pay the fine and filed a cassation appeal.

The AMCU requests the seizure of property and funds of Gazprom in Ukraine and prohibit their alienation. The head of the committee, Yuri Terentyev, explained through Facebook that Gazprom is a co-founder of PJSC Gaztranzit, which owns the building in Kiev. The company was established in 1997, Naftogaz Ukrainy and Gazprom own 40.2% of the shares, the rest - from the Turkish Turusgas. "Gaztransit" was created as an operator of expanding the gas transportation system (GTS) of Ukraine for gas supplies to Turkey and the Balkans. Net profit of the company in 2015 is $ 22.8 million, net income is $ 28.3 million. At the end of the year the company owned fixed assets for $ 15.8 million. But the AMCU admits that Gazprom has other property in Ukraine.

At the same time, as the source of Kommersant, close to the AMCU, says, there is no question of any actions with regard to Gazprom's transit gas coming from Russia to Europe via the Ukrainian gas transmission system. The pumping through Ukraine in 2016 amounted to 82 billion cubic meters. According to the interlocutor of Kommersant, all the property of Gazprom in Ukraine is "Gazprom-marketing Ukraine" with its office and accounts for several million hryvnia. " "It's only theoretically possible to arrest gas in pipes, in practice, no one wants to create problems for the European consumer," he says. "The arrest of gas in the pipeline is not possible," the co-chairman of the Energy Strategy Fund of Ukraine Dmitry Marunich agrees. According to him, "there is nothing to collect AMCU" and "the decision is purely formal." In the "Gazprom" and the European Commission refused to comment. The interlocutors of Kommersant agree that the AMCU statement is political and was made on the eve of the announcement of the results of the hearings in the Stockholm Arbitration. There is a dispute over the contract between Gazprom and Naftogaz, which until 2015 Ukraine bought gas (the announcement should take place before April 30). Mutual claims of Gazprom and Naftogaz, according to the report of the Ukrainian company for 2016, are about $ 45.7 billion and $ 17.9 billion, respectively.

A partner of the A2 law firm, Mikhail Kurdzhev, explains that, under the compulsory execution of the seizure of the debtor's assets, the state executive will take action to identify all of Gazprom's assets in Ukraine (usually from extracts from the registers of rights to immovable property, vehicles, etc.), then Will make their arrest and register the encumbrance in the state register. In the future, the property can be described, valued and sold at auction. According to the lawyer, the executor can foreclose on the property of Ukrainian companies in which Gazprom has corporate rights (in the event that no other property is found), as well as debts can be repaid at the expense of the Ukrainian debtors of the company. Managing Partner of HEADS Consulting Alexander Bazykin notes that the possible introduction of restrictions on disposal in this case does not imply that the arrested assets will necessarily be sold in order to satisfy the claims of the plaintiff. In his opinion, even if Ukraine wanted to arrest transit gas, it could do so with respect to volumes whose value is commensurate with the fine ($ 6.4 billion corresponds to 35 billion cubic meters out of an average price of $ 180 per thousand cubic meters).