Vitrenko proposes Shmyhal dismiss Kobolyev, Naftogaz's supervisory board

Vitrenko proposes Shmyhal dismiss Kobolyev, Naftogaz's supervisory board

Ukraine's Acting Energy Minister Yuriy Vitrenko has proposed that Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal submit for consideration by the Cabinet of Ministers the issue of the dismissal of Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev and the termination of contracts with members of the company's supervisory board, according to Vitrenko's letter dated February 12, which was seen by the LB.UA online news site.

Vitrenko cited a number of reasons which, in his opinion, are the grounds for the dismissal of Kobolyev and the supervisory board. In particular, Naftogaz allegedly failed to meet the natural gas production target for 2020, which was approved by the strategy for the development of the gas production industry of Ukraine and provided for an increase in domestic natural gas production by 27.6 billion cubic meters by the end of 2020.

Vitrenko also wrote in the letter that the company plans to reduce gas production over the next five years. Projected natural gas production in 2025 will allegedly range from 9.9 billion cubic meters to 12.5 billion cubic meters according to different scenarios.

In addition, the letter refers to violations that the State Audit Office found in Naftogaz's activities in 2018-2019.

"[Those violations] led to the loss of UAH 75.5 billion in financial and material resources," writes Vitrenko.

He also said that the Taxpayers' Office found violations in Ukrtransgaz, which led to the value of dividends paid to Naftogaz being reduced by UAH 35.2 billion.

"In view of the above facts, as well as taking into account the information provided in the annexes to this letter, the Energy Ministry proposes immediately considering the issue of replacing the management of NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine, terminating contracts with members of the supervisory board and holding competitions to fill respective positions," the letter reads.

On January 28, the Verkhovna Rada for the second time failed to appoint Vitrenko as Ukraine's first deputy prime minister and energy minister. Only 204 lawmakers voted for a respective decision, with the required minimum being 226 votes.

Prior to that, on December 17, 2020, the Verkhovna Rada failed to appoint Vitrenko to the post. At that time, only 186 people's deputies voted in favor of the decision.

On December 21, the Cabinet of Ministers appointed Vitrenko acting minister of energy.

On January 25, President Volodymyr Zelensky asked Servant of the People party deputies to support Vitrenko's appointment to the post of first deputy prime minister and minister of energy. He said the acting minister had limited powers.

On January 28, Verkhovna Rada Chairman Dmytro Razumkov said that Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal had submitted to parliament a motion to appoint Vitrenko as deputy prime minister and minister of energy.

Vitrenko is a former executive director at Naftogaz. From April 2019 to June 2020, he headed the supervisory board at PJSC Ukrnafta. From October 2019 to January 2020, he served as a member of the supervisory board at Ukroboronprom.


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