Nikolai Tokarev was given another 5 years

Why mighty Igor Sechin for many years could not defeat the head of Transneft, who was again reassigned as general director.
Origin source
Today, April 20, at an extraordinary meeting of the Board of Directors of Transneft, reassignment of Nikolai Tokarev as head of the company should take place. His powers will be extended for another five years, at least until 2025. Will Tokarev's old opponent, Igor Sechin, be able to keep his chair alive in a month. The contract of the owner of the largest wells expires May 24. The magazine "Company" understood why Nikolai Tokarev still remains the most acceptable candidate for power, despite the ongoing struggle between the two monopolists.

Russia surrenders to OPEC

Reducing oil production under the new OPEC + deal from 11.3 to 8.5 million barrels per day is causing a severe blow to Russian oil companies that have already suffered from Arab dumping. As of March 10, the capitalization of Russian oil companies fell by 1.6 trillion rubles.

The planned reduction is 23% of all Russian oil production, which, on the one hand, is difficult to implement, and on the other, it is almost impossible to recover. At the same time, Russia in the next two months will reduce production more than other parties to the agreement - by 2.5 million barrels per day (recall, in March, the country left OPEC negotiations, not wanting to reduce production by 0.3 million barrels per day).

In March, media reported that Igor Sechin, chief executive officer of Rosneft, opposed the deal with OPEC. His company’s initiative was worth more than others: in mid-April, capitalization fell by 30% compared to the beginning of the year, and this is not the limit. In connection with the ongoing epidemic of coronavirus, OPEC expects a new drop in oil demand.

The situation is not much better for Nikolai Tokarev, Transneft CEO, who exclusively controls Russian oil pipelines. Transneft managed to maintain the level of capitalization at the beginning of the year, but the company faced a heavy burden of the need to compensate for losses to partners affected in 2019. 26.1 billion rubles had to be paid for oil pollution in the pipelines, and in addition, unplanned expenses for the purchase of shares in the Novorossiysk port arose. As a result, profit for the year fell from 225.4 billion to 179.4 billion rubles.

The company will not comment on how Transneft will have a contract to reduce production. The issue is too broad, said Koh Igor Demin, spokesman and adviser to the president of Transneft.

Dirty war on the Belarusian front

If Rosneft already considers losses from the upcoming reduction in production, then Transneft is also considering how to compensate for the damage from last year's pollution of pumped oil. The increase in tariffs could be considered as an option, if Sechin weren’t as close to Vladimir Putin and had Tokarev the sad experience of past clashes with the main oilman.

They watched Rosneft’s long-standing conflict with Transneft, which began more than eight years ago with Sechin’s attack on Tokarev’s henchmen at Zarubezhneft and continued because of disputes about paying for the construction of new pipelines to China, wondered why the fight would begin in 2019, but no one was able to predict what happened on April 19. The Belorussian concern Belneftekhim said that oil from Russia is overfilled with chemicals, the content of which is ten times higher than the limit values ​​according to the standard.

The investigation found an increased content of toxic dichloroethane, nearly 4 million tons of oil. Belarusians demanded the same amount of clean oil as compensation and increased tariffs for pumping oil through their territory by 3.7%. The Board of Directors of Transneft agreed on compensation with everyone except Rosneft, but Tokarev did not plead guilty and announced a sabotage arranged in the area of ​​responsibility of SamaraTransNeft-terminal LLC. At a meeting with the president, he said that the drain of low-quality oil was deliberate: "I think this is a fraudulent scheme."

The investigation agreed that dirty oil was loaded in order to conceal multiple thefts. However, not a single person involved in the Sechin Samarneftegaz was among those arrested, but suddenly four employees of the Tokarev subsidiary of Transneft Druzhba JSC were suddenly discovered. Although Transneft itself is still considered the injured party, the surprise was not the most pleasant, however, it fits into the “sworn friendship” scheme of the main oilman of Russia and the monopoly owner of its pipes.

Of the overcoat of Iron Felix

When Nikolai Tokarev became the head of Transneft, most analysts agreed that Sechin lobbied for the appointment. It was assumed that Igor Ivanovich would help Nikolai Petrovich select Gazprom’s gas transmission networks, after which their alliance would become Russia's most powerful corporation.

Indeed, Tokarev and Sechin have much in common. First of all, a long-standing friendship with Putin, and secondly, an even more old-fashioned relationship with the office on Lubyanka. Only Sechin is indirect, as a translator of Soviet military advisers in Angola, while Tokarev is direct. After graduating from the KGB High School, along with the current director of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergei Naryshkin, he served in the T department (scientific and technical intelligence) and was sent to the GDR. It was there, in the Dresden residency, that Tokarev met Vladimir Putin and the future head of the Rostec corporation, Sergei Chemezov.

After the collapse of the USSR Tokarev broke up with the authorities. In 1996, when Putin ended up in Moscow as the director of a state-owned company for managing property abroad ("State property abroad"), Tokarev became his deputy. They say that it was from that time that the senior comrade calls the boss exclusively Vladimir Vladimirovich and always seeks to please something.

Immediately after Putin was appointed prime minister in August 1999, Tokarev first crossed the threshold of Transneft. First, as the head of the security service, and after a few months - the vice president of the company.

Business with Hussein, the battle with Weinstock

In 2000, Putin, as president, made Tokarev the general director of the Zarubezhneft company, which had been developing fields in Syria, Vietnam, and other friendly countries since Soviet times. The new director has prosecuted the previous leadership, accusing him of embezzlement of $ 100 million, but soon the case fell apart. But four years after the appointment of the new general director, Zarubezhneft was successfully corporatized (shares still remain with the state, but the path to privatization is open), making it the owner of the treasury stake in the Russian-Vietnamese venture Vietsovpetro.

From that moment, the profit went not to the treasury, but to the company’s bins, facilitating its development by effective managers - Tokarev himself, his son-in-law Andrei Bolotov (now former), ex-head of the FSO Evgeni Murov. Gennady Timchenko, the owner of the Gunvor oil trader, who was close to the president, did not work at Zarubezhneft, but it was through his Millennium Gunvor Energy Ltd and Gunvor International Ltd that the company bought Iraqi oil under the Oil for Food program for $ 500 million. To what extent did additional intermediaries represented by Timchenko’s subsidiaries cut rations of the starving Iraqis and how was the profit divided between the interested parties? We are unlikely to know the answer, but one thing is certain - the country's leadership was pretty Tokarev. October 15, 2007 he was appointed head of Transneft.

In the new location, Tokarev behaved exactly the same as in the old one: he attacked his predecessor Semyon Vainshtok, announcing an over expenditure of $ 2 billion during the construction of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline. At that time, the company began to actively transfer donations to charitable structures close to the authorities, primarily to the Kremlin-9 fund for assistance to federal state security agencies. Eight months after Tokarev’s appointment, Transneft’s minority shareholder, Alexei Navalny, tried to determine the fate of 7 billion “charitable” rubles, but the Moscow Arbitration Court rejected the lawsuit. However, the business of the Siberian-Pacific oil pipeline did not begin to unwind. After talking with Vainshtok, Putin said that “if there was something criminally punishable there, people would already be in jail,” and the question of $ 2 billion would no longer be raised.

Chekists on the pipe

The formation of a new team has begun at Transneft. The first deputy director of Zarubezhneft, Mikhail Arustamov, who, together with his wife Tokareva Galina, owned the Czech real estate company Pramo Technologies, became Transneft's first vice president. Deputy Director of Zarubezhneft Vladimir Kushnarev received the post of vice president of finance. Since 2011, Transneft’s board of directors has met GDR intelligence veteran Matthias Warnig, who worked with Putin and Tokarev back in Dresden. In 2005, Warnig headed Dresdner Bank, in Russia he joined the boards of directors of several major corporations at once, in 2011-2012 even at Rosneft and Rusal.
Sergei Chemezov was not included in the leadership of Transneft, but his family’s business with members of the Tokarev clan flourished. Andrei Bolotov in 2001 worked for the Itera gas company, whose co-owner accidentally turned out to be the second wife of Chemezov Sr. Ekaterina Ignatova. Chemezov's son Stanislav became a partner of Andrei Bolotov and his wife.

Among other things, she and Stanislav Chemezov became co-owners of LLC GKK-Meridian and LLC RPA Estate, having acquired a profitable house on Ostozhenka Street 19. The business interests of partners also included real estate in Latvia and Croatia. When Maya Tokareva submitted documents for obtaining Cypriot citizenship, it turned out that her address coincides with the address of Ronin Europe, which by chance is part of the Russian group of companies Ronin Trust, which manages the finances of the Transneft pension fund.

Having relied on former Chekist colleagues, Tokarev did not neglect the Kremlin "liberals" either. Ex-member of Transneft’s board of directors Arkady Dvorkovich (assistant to President Dmitry Medvedev) introduced the former boss to the co-owners of Summa group Ziyavudin Magomedov and his brother Magomed. In 2011, Transneft and Summa jointly acquired 50.1% of the country's largest cargo turnover Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port (hereinafter NCSP), although one of Putin's closest friends Arkady Rotenberg claimed the stake.

Cleaning partners and shareholders

In March 2018, the Magomedovs were imprisoned, which temporarily violated Transneft’s plans to buy the brothers ’shares in NCSP (they expected to complete the deal in early spring). The fact is that after the completion of the presidency of Medvedev, the Magomedovs began to ballast for Tokarev. As a result, in October 2018, the purchase was completed. Buying shares of NCSP from the brothers, Transneft showed unprecedented generosity, having paid $ 750 million for their package (60% more than the market price!). Despite the fact that the port was going through hard times, and the consolidated cargo turnover of NCSP terminals for January – July 2018 fell by 3.3%.

Tokarev did not show generosity to minority shareholders. Outraged by the yield of 1.5%, the minority shareholder Navalny. The owner of 71% of preferred shares, UCP group of Ilya Shcherbovich, on September 19, 2016 through the Moscow Arbitration Court, demanded that Transneft equalize dividends on its securities with ordinary shares, and also proposed to disclose details of the failed transaction with foreign exchange derivatives in Vneshprombank and Intercommerts Bank .
The tactics turned out to be true. Transneft chose not to develop the topic and bought shares from UCP for 169.7 billion rubles. (about $ 3 billion at the exchange rate on March 27, 2017). The reason is clear. The deal, the circumstances of which he called for pulling Shcherbovich at a meeting, caused the company a loss of at least 73.5 billion rubles. The chairman of the board of Interkommerts, Alexander Bugaevsky, moved to Prague, and the co-owner of Vneshprombank Georgy Bedzhamov, moved to Monaco. How did they do it? Perhaps it's all about connections. One of the founders of Vneshprombank turned out to be ... Zarubezhneft, in which Tokarev appeared shortly before. And son-in-law of Bolotov, before Bedzhamov’s escape, met with him on the board of directors of the Sakhalin Shipping Company and on the presidium of the Russian Bobsleigh Federation.

When the vast majority of preferred shares were held by the corporation, dividends per share rose from 757.87 rubles. in 2015, before the UCP lawsuit, up to 11,453.76 rubles. after redemption of her package. That is 15 times.
Two bears at the same wells

When one company produces oil and another controls pipelines, a conflict over pricing is inevitable. Even if both have a controlling stake in the state. Rosneft expanded unceasingly, swallowed Itera with Bashneft and began to look closely at Zarubezhneft, where Tokarev left his protege Nikolai Brunich on the farm. At first, he somehow managed, but then the collapse began: in 2010-2012, the company's net profit decreased by 3.5 times. An unpleasant report went upstairs, and Brunich was replaced by former First Vice President of Rosneft Sergey Kudryashov. What did not save the company from a series of failures. Only on unsuccessful prospecting in the Republika Srpska in Bosnia, $ 300 million was lost.

The transition of Zarubezhneft to Sechin’s sphere of influence was only the beginning of an attack on the positions of the former ally. Arriving in Khakassia on December 19, 2011, Putin unexpectedly demanded that the managers of eight state-controlled companies, including Transneft and Gazprom, be checked with offshore and affiliated organizations. Rosneft, the president pointedly did not include in the list, and everyone who needs a hint understood. Brunich, Kushnarev and Arustamov (incidentally, Galina Tokareva rewrote her share of Pramo Technologies to him) the next year had to urgently leave their homes.

A year later, the swara continued due to the pipeline to China. Sechin promised his Beijing comrades an additional supply of 31–34 million tons of oil per year, and on March 22, 2013 a corresponding agreement was signed. The head of Transneft, who was confronted with the fact, replied that the document was being prepared without it, and if so, "whoever organized this, let him take such responsibility." Tokarev insisted that Transneft is not a Rosneft service company, and if Transneft still has to build a pipe, tariff increases for all oil workers are inevitable.

This statement, made on May 16, 2013, looked imprudent. The agreement on additional deliveries was signed not only by the heads of Rosneft and the Chinese oil and gas corporation CNPC, but also by Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Therefore, Sechin merely dismissed on May 21 that financing the expansion of the pipeline “is not our task. Our task is to pay for transport and see that the tariffs are economically justified. The task of Transneft is to ensure pumping and to get normal profitability. ” The replica was preceded by a request from the Duma fraction of A Just Russia, which suddenly became concerned about the overpricing of the cost of the supports for the construction of the Zapolyarye-Purpe pipeline by 10 billion rubles.

Tokarev announced on May 17 that the “big oil company” had ordered him to deputies, but, realizing that it was useless to resist, he took up the Chinese pipeline. Sechin’s victory in the Chinese direction only spurred new attacks. Already in January 2014, he called on the government to conduct an additional issue of Transneft shares so that Rosneft would buy them. There was no corresponding signal from the Kremlin’s main office, and the ministers ignored the call, but it became clear that this was only the beginning.

So it was: on January 25, 2017, Rosneft filed a lawsuit in the Moscow Arbitration Court, accusing Transneft of misappropriating 676.2 thousand tons of product, written off as “technical costs” for the year. Sechin lawyers indicated that such an appropriation is comparable to the annual production of a large field, but so far they have not proved the charge.

In 2018, sworn friends clashed over the Komsomolsk refinery. Transneft built a pipe to it for 47 billion rubles, but refused to connect, because Rosneft did not want to pay at the requested tariff. In response, Sechin began to carry oil by rail, and Tokarev complained that the losses on the content of the ready-for-use branch were about 1.5 billion rubles. and Rosneft should reimburse them. According to rumors, not without an urgent request from the main office, Igor Ivanovich signed an agreement on a long-term tariff, and Nikolai Petrovich did not demand 1.5 billion, but there was no peace.

Transneft limited the acceptance of raw materials into the trunk pipeline system, forcing Rosneft to reduce production by 1.7 million tons in May – July 2019. In August, the chairman of the board of directors of Rosneft, the ex-chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schroeder, in a letter to the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev proposed to involve independent inspectors to control the Transneft pipelines. Tokarev's adviser Igor Demin supported the idea, but subject to the payment of the work of the inspectors by the oil workers themselves. The word Rosneft did not sound, but there they understood the hint and demanded an apology. Tokarev replied that he advised Sechin "to give instructions to his press secretary Mikhail Leontyev, who publicly, officially constantly sends everyone to an obscene place, to apologize to those whom he sends there."

Putin’s dirty bomb

When the mutual accusations reached their peak, the first part of the allegedly developed plan for Rosneft to discredit Tokarev surfaced in order to achieve his resignation. Did Sechin’s team really develop such a plan? Or, on the contrary, was it developed in the Tokarev apparatus to substitute the enemy? Both options are possible here.

The battle continues. Not finished is the story of oil pollution. Due to reduced production and excess of unallocated oil limits, new incidents are likely in Transneft's tank farms. As Kohne explained to Advisor to the President of Transneft, Igor Demin, “the company has no possibility of long-term storage of oil. Storage facilities are designed to provide pumping, there volumes are within one month. For example, storage facilities in Novorossiysk (two sites of the Sheskharis transshipment complex with a capacity of 1.4 and 1.28 million m3. - Note. Ko) are designed to store oil in case of a storm when its shipment ceases. Rosneft and other companies give us oil not for storage, but for transportation. ” If the limits of unallocated oil are exceeded, the company stops receiving oil, said Demin.

Time will tell how the situation will develop, but all these oil upheavals make us remember the morals in the USA of the youth of Rockefeller Sr., when competitors were shot and their wells were set on fire.