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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Centragas Claims Ukraine Stole Gas

BloombergDmitry Firtash speaking in an interview. His firm Centragas accused Kiev of stealing 11 billion cubic meters of gas.
KIEV — Shareholders of a gas supply middleman that lost out after a January feud between Ukraine and Russia said Thursday that Kiev had stolen 11 billion cubic meters of gas and demanded answers before pursuing a claim.

Centragas, joint owner of RosUkrEnergo with Gazprom, said Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz “expropriated” the gas in January while it was sitting in Ukrainian underground storage awaiting transit to Europe.

The two countries signed a 10-year supply deal to end the row and scrapped RosUkrEnergo as an intermediary between Gazprom and Naftogaz. Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and some experts had long accused RosUkrEnergo of corrupt practices.

“Centragas confirms that it has written to the Ukrainian Government to commence the process towards a claim under the Energy Charter Treaty relating to the expropriation … by Naftogaz,” a Centragas statement said.

The statement did not specify in which court it wanted to pursue the matter or whether it was seeking compensation for the gas. It said the energy charter gives the two sides a three-month consultation period.

Centragas is 90 percent owned by GDF, a holding company for Ukrainian tycoon Dmitry Firtash — long a bitter rival of Tymoshenko. She, along with other top politicians, is getting ready for a presidential election due on Jan. 17.

Neither Centragas nor Naftogaz were available to comment.

Tymoshenko said earlier this year when similar accusations of theft came up that Ukraine had bought the 11 billion cubic meters of gas for $1.7 billion from Gazprom, as half-owner of RosUkrEnergo.