De facto Russian gas monopoly Gazprom says it has appealed against a Swedish arbitration court ruling that ordered it to pay more than US$2.5 billion to Ukraine’s gas utility Naftogaz.
It said the appeal was motivated by errors of procedure and abuses committed by the Swedish arbitrators.
Last month the Stockholm Arbitration Court ordered Gazprom to pay US$2.56 billion to Naftogaz to settle the legal dispute and ordered the resumption of gas deliveries to Ukraine.
The firms demanded tens of billions of dollars from each other in a dispute over a 10-year contract at inflated prices that Kiev signed in 2009 after Gazprom cut its deliveries in the middle of the winter.
The Ukrainian media reported that European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič welcomed the ruling.
“The European Commission only welcomes the Stockholm tribunal’s decision on the gas supply and transit contract between Naftogaz and Gazprom. The European Commission expects that both sides will comply with this decision and that various provisions of this decision will help restart trade relations between Naftogaz and Gazprom,” the commission’s energy chief told the media.
“We are seriously concerned about the developments between Gazprom and Naftogaz immediately after the arbitration decision of February 28 and Gazprom’s initiative to terminate both gas contracts for supply and transit. If any termination is as thought, we expect it to take place in an orderly manner, taking into account the rights and obligations of both sides and the impact on third parties, such as the countries of the European Union,” Sefcovic said.
He said it was in the interests of Gazprom and Naftogaz and the EU to respect the Stockholm decision.
The former Slovak statesman said the European Commission was ready to play a role in any further negotiations.
Russia’s state-run Tass news agency reported that in
February 2016, the Anti-Monopoly Committee of Ukraine decided to impose a fine on Gazprom of US$3.2 billion due to the Russian company allegedly violating legislation on the protection of economic competition.
The committee then reportedly doubled the fine and Gazprom filed complaints against the decision.
Last year the proposed fine was increased to US$6.5 billion due to non-payment.
After the recent Stockholm arbitration ruling, Gazprom refused to restart deliveries as ordered at the beginning of this month and said it was mounting an appeal.
Around 15 per cent of the gas Europe buys from Russia is transported through Ukraine, although the European Union has looked to diversify supplies since the 2009 dispute.
Gazprom’s Nordstream II pipeline will bypass Ukraine. Picture credit: YouTube