Naftogaz Sues Gazprom Again, Claims New $11bn from Russian Gas Giant

The state gas company of Ukraine, Naftogaz, has decided to file a new lawsuit in November to recover over $11 billion it claims from Russia’s Gazprom, in addition to almost $3 billion that Russia should pay according to the Stockholm arbitration decision, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes.

The Russian gas giant recently said Naftogaz should resolve the existing disputes by withdrawing all claims, before Gazprom will conclude a new gas transit contract with Ukraine. 

Experts told Nezavisimaya Gazeta that compared to the beginning of this year, Gazprom’s negotiating position has worsened due to restrictions imposed on the OPAL pipeline. If Naftogaz’s new claims are satisfied, Russia’s debt to Ukraine will almost quintuple “Yanukovich’s debt” to Russia unpaid by Kiev.

“In the spring, Gazprom’s market position was able to be described as strong. Now the situation has somewhat changed,” says Alexander Timofeev, associate professor at the Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics.

The imposed restrictions on the use of the OPAL pipeline automatically make Gazprom dependent on Ukraine, and this circumstance clearly shaped the overestimated requirements of Kiev, Timofeev said. In addition, Naftogaz insists on concluding a long-term contract with volumes that, according to the expert, “will immediately withdraw two Russian projects from circulation: Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream.”

Russian experts are surprised at the amount claimed by Naftogaz. 

“Such a large sum of likely claims against Gazprom, obviously, takes into account lost profits from the transit of Russian gas,” said Alexander Pakhomov, director of the Law and Mediation Fund for the Fuel and Energy Complex.

A new tripartite meeting on gas (Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the European Commission) is scheduled for late this month.