Таємна депеша посла США в Україні В.Тейлора щодо підтримки Ю.Тимошенко у зусиллях усунути з українського газового ринку компанії «РосУкрЕнерго» та «УкрГазЕнерго».
08.01.2008: «Tymoshenko turns up heat on gas middleman UkrHazEnergo» (Confidential, Embassy Kyiv, Ambassador William B. Taylor) /English/ Wikileaks
Viewing cable 08KYIV162, TYMOSHENKO TURNS UP HEAT ON GAS MIDDLEMAN UKRHAZENERHO
DE RUEHKV #0162/01 0251222
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251222Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4791
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS KYIV 000162
DEPT FOR EUR/UMB
DOE FOR LEKIMOFF, CCALIENDO, EMCGINNIS
USDOC FOR 4231/ITA/OEENIS/NISD/CLUCYK
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG EPET ETRD PREL UP
SUBJECT: TYMOSHENKO TURNS UP HEAT ON GAS MIDDLEMAN UKRHAZENERHO
REF: KYIV 0014
Treat as Sensitive but Unclassified. Not for Internet.
1. (SBU) Summary. Tymoshenko's new government recently launched its first strike against intermediaries connected to RosUkrEnergo (RUE) in the gas trade with Russia. The National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) of Ukraine limited UkrHazEnerho's (UHE) (Note: a joint venture between RUE and NaftoHaz.) license to supply gas at unregulated tariffs - those to the lucrative industrial sector -- to 5.04 bcm/year, an amount equal to roughly 10% of its 2007 sales. Should this cap survive a UHE lawsuit, UHE presumably would lose the bulk of its direct industrial customers and the associated profits to other gas suppliers. NaftoHaz's poor financial standing has often been attributed to UHE, as UHE inherited gas delivery profits that had previously been earned by NaftoHaz, although it is not certain the new restrictions on UHE will benefit NaftoHaz. Adding to the pressure on UHE, an interagency commission is attempting to scrutinize UHE's financial operations. Tymoshenko's bold move against UHE's dominance in the domestic market might have the additional benefit of weakening RUE, which she promised to remove from the gas deal in her September 2007 campaign. End Summary
The Roles of the Intermediaries
2. (U) Two controversial intermediaries exist in the Ukrainian gas market - RUE and UHE. RUE, a joint venture nominally owned by Russia's Gazprom (50%) and Ukrainian businessmen Dmytro Firtash and Ivan Fursin (with a reported 45% and 5% share respectively), is the monopoly supplier of natural gas to Ukraine since January 2006. As part of the January 2006 deal, UHE, a joint venture owned in equal shares by RUE and NaftoHaz, was created to purchase gas from RUE and sell it to NaftoHaz and directly to consumers.
NERC Restricted UHE's Supply License from Outset, but Lost Court
3. (U) After the creation of UHE, the NERC initially issued it a five-year license to supply up to 5.04 bcm/year gas at unregulated tariffs, thereby giving it limited access to the lucrative industrial segment of the market. UHE appealed the decision and, in May 2006, Kyiv's economic court upheld their complaint and ordered the restrictions lifted. The NERC attempted to have the ruling reversed in the court of appeals, but the ruling was upheld. Shortly after the appointment of the Yanukovych government in August 2006, the then-head of the NERC, Sergiy Titenko, removed all restrictions on gas volumes supplied by UHE. As a result, UHE quickly dominated the industrial segment of Ukraine's domestic gas market.
UHE's Gains are NaftoHaz's Losses
4. (U) In 2007, UHE sold up to 40bcm of gas to industrial customers at a considerable profit, according to press reporting. Its profitability came at the expense of NaftoHaz, which had historically used revenues from the unregulated industrial sector to compensate for its losses in the regulated residential and district heating sector. Sales to industry had been its second largest source of revenue (after its gas transit business); from the first half of 2006 to that of 2007, NaftoHaz's net income reportedly dropped by more than 50% while debts accumulated. To prevent NaftoHaz from sinking into bankruptcy, the GOU recently provided state guarantees on NaftoHaz's outstanding debts (reftel).
NERC Reinstates Limit on UHE; Cites Court Case
5. (U) On January 8, 2008, the NERC passed a resolution that reinstated the 5.04 bcm limit on UHE's supplies to the unregulated (industrial) sector. According to press reports, the NERC's newly-appointed Chairman Valerii Kalchenko explained that the Higher Economic Court had overturned the earlier court decisions a year ago. He also stressed that UHE is a structure affiliated with NaftoHaz and that, according to Ukrainian legislation, the total share a business group possesses in the gas market could not exceed 35%. Given the existing licenses belonging to other NaftoHaz enterprises, Kalchenko argued the remaining volume of gas available for delivery by UHE was 5.04 bcm. According to Kalchenko, UHE is free to sell any additional volume to other suppliers.
UHE Will Sue
6. (U) UHE disputed that any court decision exists allowing NERC to revoke previous licenses and stated it intends to sue NERC to reverse its decision. It has warned that disruptions in supply, and to gas transit from Russia to the EU, could occur if the restriction was upheld. However, UHE's spokesman stated that it had signed agreements until 2012 with more than 200 Ukrainian customers and would do its best to fulfill them until the issue is resolved in the courts.
UHE also Protests Scrutiny of its Financial Operations
7. (U) Earlier this week, members of the interagency commission to audit NaftoHaz twice attempted to enter UHE offices to scrutinize its financial operations. UHE refused them entry, stating that the attempt violated the constitution, the Civil Code, and other laws of Ukraine and was an attempt to exert administrative pressure on the company. UHE has reportedly written a letter requesting resolution of the issue to the Chair of the Commission, First Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Turchynov.
8. (SBU) Comment. Tymoshenko has repeatedly stated her intention to eliminate UHE and RUE as intermediaries in the gas market - a goal the USG has long supported. Based on recent activity, she appears determined to keep those campaign promises. She seems to be focusing the initial assault on UkrHazEnerho, although she has publicly continued to call for removing RUE as well. Capping UHE's operations would deal a serious blow not only to UHE but, due to its ownership stake, RUE. (Note: The direct financial effect on RUE is unclear, since it is completely murky what financial flows and dividends move between UHE and RUE. Reportedly, UHE has yet to pay 2006 dividends to NaftoHaz, even though NaftoHaz owns a 50% share. End note.) Another sign of this pressure on UHE was the recent removal of Ihor Voronin, UHE's CEO, from his position as a deputy chairman of NaftoHaz. What is not clear is who will step into the void created by the NERC's new limits on UHE's direct sales. It is possible that NaftoHaz or regional gas distributors could take over this role, but some observers have speculated that other gas traders could begin supplying industry, which up to now had been virtually monopolized by UHE.