De facto Russian gas monopoly Gazprom has appealed against the Stockholm arbitration ruling in a dispute with the Ukrainian Naftogaz over the gas transit contract.
“On March 29, Gazprom filed an appeal to the Svea County Court of Appeal to appeal and revoke the final award in an arbitration with Naftogaz of Ukraine in the gas transit case due to significant procedural violations committed by the arbitrators in making their decision,” Gazprom said.
On March 22, Gazprom filed an appeal with the Swedish court over the award on gas supply contracts.
On February 28, Naftogaz announced its victory in Stockholm in the dispute over compensation for the amount of gas for transit that Gazprom failed to provide. Gazprom said as a result of such a verdict, an “imbalance” emerged in relations with Naftogaz over gas supply and transit.
Naftogaz could start recovery of US$2.6 billion debt from Gazprom this month to execute the Stockholm ruling, the state-run utility’s chief commercial officer Yuriy Vitrenko has said.
“[The appeal] could start in the near future, in April. We have warned them,” he told 24 Channel TV.
Vitrenko said that the process could take up to half a year, while Naftogaz remained hopeful Gazprom would rapidly comply with the arbitration tribunal’s award. He claimed Gazprom had not yet filed a counterclaim against the Stockholm award on the gas-transit contract.
“From a point of view of law, even if they already filed the counterclaim, it does not stop the execution of the arbitration tribunal’s award. That is they must pay this money to us, and then wait for a year and a half until their counterclaim is heard and the respective decision is made,” the Naftogaz boss said.
Vitrenko did not rule out the possibility of seizing Gazprom’s gas in underground storage sites in the EU or shares of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline operator in a Swiss court for debt recovery.
Moscow mouthpiece Tass reported that Gazprom and Naftogaz signed the gas contract in January 2009 and it was valid until the end of next year. The volume of supplies was to be 40 billion cubic metres of gas in 2009, and from 2010, 52 billion cubic metres annually.
However, since 2012, Tass said Naftogaz failed to fully intake the contracted volume and, since November 2015, Ukraine has not bought Russian gas, replacing it with imports from the European Union.
In 2014, Gazprom and Naftogaz filed lawsuits against each other in Stockholm, which in December ordered Naftogaz to pay the Russian giant US$2 billion for the deliveries, but reduced the annual contractual volume of purchases to 5 billion cubic metres, according to the official Russian agency.
Gazprom is expanding rapidly overseas. Picture credit: YouTube