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Lithuania defeated by Gazprom and portends the loss of Ukraine

Lithuania defeated by Gazprom and portends the loss of Ukraine

23.06.2016
Tags: Lithuania, Gas, Court, Gazprom, Russia, Ukraine, Analytics, Economy

Gazprom first time won an important victory in a dispute about what should be the price of gas supplies to Europe. Lithuania lost to the process in the Stockholm arbitration and was not able to prove their understanding of the so-called fair price. Ukraine should carefully examine the results of this process and the arguments of the parties - a claim of Naftogaz to Gazprom is almost identical.

Stockholm arbitration, consider disputes Lithuania and Gazprom over the alleged overpayment in the amount of 1,4 billion euros for gas supplied to Lithuania, not found guilty of the Russian company. This was stated by Minister of Energy of Lithuania Rokas Masiulis, noting that Vilnius is disappointed by the decision. "Stockholm arbitration not considered a violation of the Russian company", - transmits his words Delfi. Arbitration costs are divided between the two parties - for half a million euros.

The lawsuit was filed by Lithuania in October 2012 years. Vilnius demanded to compensate him about 1,4 billion euros for the supply of Russian gas to 2004-2012 years. He claimed that the gas was sold at too high a price "unfair prices", so you need to review the contract and recalculate the payment of deliveries in previous years.

"The withdrawal of the arbitration institute argues that none of the parties did not specify the requirements and failed to provide reasonable arguments. This suggests that it is rather complicated and none of the parties has failed to protect its position ", - said the Lithuanian Minister. In essence, this means that Lithuania was unable to prove his vision of a "fair" price.

Important here is the way the arbitration realized unfair term rates, which Lithuania is constantly made use of - just as it constantly does Ukraine.

"Arbitration drew attention to the fact that the term" right price "is abstract in order to assess the potential damage. In addition, the arbitrators decided that the demand to provide gas for the lowest price does not make sense "- said in a message posted on the Ministry of Energy of Lithuania website.

It is interesting to compare this case with other similar claims of European companies and claims of Ukraine to Gazprom, which are now also considered in the Stockholm arbitration.

Many European countries have sued Gazprom because of the cost of gas, and I must say what he wants. The first summer 2010, in Stockholm Arbitration Court asked the Italian Edison. But the decision on this case has not been made: Gazprom would prefer to resolve the situation in the pretrial order. Italian ENI and Edison, German E.ON and RWE, the Greek DEPA and Polish PGNiG Russian company had to offer discounts.

"In Europe, this type of courts Gazprom lost or went to preventive changes to the contract and retroactive payments. In the case of Lithuania Gazprom desire to voluntarily resolve the story was extremely low for obvious reasons, "- says CEO of the National Energy Security Fund Konstantin Simonov.

Firstly, Lithuania went on a very strict scheme of separation of energy assets of Gazprom and seizure of property. Gazprom has been with the German company E.ON owner of Lietuvos Dujos. After the adoption of the so-called Third Energy Package of the EU, this business had to be divided. But Lithuania could go for a simpler way to solve the problem - not shoot from the hip, and gradually reorganize the asset. For example, in Estonia Gazprom out of the property of a local company just completed in May of this year and was not accompanied by political shocks.

Second, even at the expense of Lithuania itself is doing everything to buy less Russian gas. This is why it has built LNG terminal. "The US is constantly put in Lithuania as an example of the perfect option to get rid of Gazprom's dependence on Russia," - says Simonov. Therefore, Lithuania could hardly wait for the world of Gazprom. And, as it turned out, Gazprom has not lost.

Causes of loss

Why Lithuania lost, unlike a number of other European countries, are won in Stockholm from Gazprom? According to Simon, there are three factors.

Firstly, it politicized requirements. "Lithuania was originally called price of Russian gas policy, and this is in the claim. I think that Lithuania has assured himself that it is necessary to balk at the political factor that, say, Gazprom hurts Baltic countries, sets high prices. But from a legal point of view, this controversial thesis. What is the political price? There is a formula in the contract, to which she agreed to Lithuania ", - said the head of FNES.

The notion that Gazprom is using its monopoly, was selling gas at higher prices, and this discriminates against Lithuania, is divided on a number of objections.

there is no reason to say that the gas is supplied at high prices "We Baltic. If you take the price for end consumers, households, the price for gas in the Baltic States is traditionally one of the lowest in the EU. Below is usually only in Romania and Bulgaria. When you go to court and say that the population and industry of Lithuania eventually buys gas at the lowest price in the EU, then what kind of discrimination you can talk? "- wonders Simonov.

It is possible that more recent stories could have influenced the arbitration decision, although the lawsuit concerned 2004-2012. "But these stories give cause for reflection that Lithuania's position boils down to politically motivated theses, nothing more," the expert believes. First, the same story with the withdrawal from the shareholders of the company Lietuvos Dujos Gazprom. Lithuania at this time actively accused Gazprom of inflating prices. "In fact, there was a conflict of shareholders: prices were rising when there was an attempt to take away property from Gazprom. But then Lithuania itself paid Gazprom money for this asset, recognizing that its actions were excessively harsh. As soon as the joint-stock dispute was settled, the price of gas immediately went down, "recalls Konstantin Simonov.

The second story involves 2014 year when Lithuania has signed the first contract for the supply of LNG to its terminal. "After all, Lithuania now have an alternative to Russian gas, and this alternative is more expensive, - says Simonov. - Lithuania contracted at prices obviously higher than that offered Gazprom, but the court says that Gazprom for many years it discriminates. The question is: on what basis you are going to court if you are happy to buy the more expensive gas from other suppliers? "

An identical claim against Ukraine

The contract with Lithuania is not public, unlike, so they are difficult to compare the published contract with Ukraine. However, claims look almost identical. The expert did not rule out that Gazprom will be able to use the Lithuanian history as an argument in their favor during the litigation with Ukraine.

Thus, Ukraine's rhetoric about the price of Russian gas is very similar to that of Lithuania. "Both the past and the current Ukrainian authorities have always appealed to the issue of price fairness, but in the legal language there is no such term. In the Ukrainian contract there is a clause about the change of the contract in case of fundamental changes in the market. But this is a long-standing dispute - what to consider as fundamental changes, "says Simonov. In addition, Gazprom was making concessions to Naftogaz and, after rising oil prices from 2010, provided a well-known Kharkov discount and refused to comply with Ukraine's conditions of take or pay (take or pay), which is mandatory in the contract.

In addition, Ukraine, as well as Lithuania, buys from other suppliers of gas is more expensive than the Russian. "We especially thought it was that in 2015, the price reversal for Ukraine was higher Russian supplies. Kiev also discredits himself by buying a more expensive gas from alternative suppliers, "- said Simonov. And now, he said, the reversible gas still costs Kiev more expensive than if he had bought from Gazprom directly.

"The claims are identical, with Ukraine in something even worse position. Unlike Lithuania, Ukraine grossly violated the clauses of the contract in terms of purchases of Russian gas. It should be on the condition of take or pay amount of space. Lithuania does not violate this condition. Therefore, Ukraine's position may be even weaker, "- summarizes Simonov.

In 2014, Naftogaz filed a lawsuit against Gazprom in Stockholm arbitration demanding a fair and market price for the supplied gas. Also, Kiev said that it wants to recover from the Russian company 6 billion dollars in the form of an overpayment for purchased gas since 2010. Then followed the suit of Gazprom with a demand to pay for earlier gas supplies, but not paid for by Ukraine. In the end, in two years, Stockholm has been supplemented by a number of lawsuits from both sides. According to the latest data, the total amount of Gazprom's claims to Naftogaz in Stockholm is estimated at 31,759 billion dollars, Naftogaz's claims against Gazprom - in 25,7 billion dollars.

Olga Samofalova
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