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Media: Ukrainian oligarchs could take whole Ukrainian GTS under control after privatization of Ukrtransgaz

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Aug. 7, 2012, 12:47 p.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

Almost unrestricted access to the gas transport system (GTS) of Ukraine will be opened up via the reorganization and privatization of Ukrtransgaz, a subsidiary of national joint-stock company Naftogaz Ukrainy, according to a newspaper article published this week.
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Almost unrestricted access to the gas transport system (GTS) of Ukraine will be opened up via the reorganization and privatization of Ukrtransgaz, a subsidiary of national joint-stock company Naftogaz Ukrainy, according to a newspaper article published this week. 

Alla Yeremenko gave her opinion in an article on the energy issues in Dzerkalo Tyzhnia.Ukraine weekly.

The reorganization of Ukrtransgaz into a public joint-stock company will allow the Ukrainian oligarchs for a token sum of UAH 6.5 billion, to take under control the whole Ukrainian gas transport system, which is valued according to various estimates from $10 billion to $27 billion.

The Cabinet of Ministers, under an order of the Ukrainian president, has ordered the reorganization of the subsidiaries of Naftogaz Ukrainy – Ukrtransgaz and Ukrgazvudobutok – into public joint-stock companies. Formally, Ukraine is thus fulfilling the requirements of the third energy package of the European Union. Informally, direct and rather cheap access to the Ukrainian gas transport system is opened up with the corporatization of Ukrtransgaz.

The key profitable companies of the gas sector in Ukraine - Ukrtransgaz and Ukrgazvudobutok – will be ready for privatization by late 2012.

The GTS, which includes the largest underground gas storage facilities in Europe, today is simply being transferred to the management of Naftogaz Ukrainy – and more precisely to Ukrtransgaz. Formally it remains in the ownership of state. Ukrtransgaz really owns only the offices of its regional departments, compressor and gas pumping stations, and some parts of the gas pipelines.

"Ask then: what is the sense in changing the status of Ukrtransgaz – from a subsidiary of the national joint-stock company into a public joint-stock company under control of the same Naftogaz? There is a sense. The most likely version is that via the privatization of public joint-stock company Ukrtransgaz, slightly restricted and almost uncontrolled access [for the cabinet and Ukrainian public) to the Ukrainian GTS will be opened up," the author of the article said.

The goal and subject of operation of Ukrtransgaz are standard ones – gas transportation, satisfaction of needs of industrial and household consumers for raw materials and fuel, obtaining profits, in particular, from the provision of transportation and storage services and the fulfillment of transit export supplies of gas.

The acquisition of public joint-stock company Ukrtransgaz is a direct and rather cheap way to gain control of the Ukrainian GTS, as the size of the charter capital of the public joint-stock company is only UAH 6.5 billion. Ordinary nominal shares in a book-entry form will be issued, and their total number will be 6,494,611,600. The face value of each share is UAH 1.

The next step is shares of the national joint-stock company that will be exchanged to 100% of shares in Ukrtransgaz after the registration of the issue of its shares.

The author of the article said that regional and town gas supply companies in similar situation obtained gas distribution pipelines for next to nothing and for unrestricted periods of time. 

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