The National Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office sent a case to the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court on a corruption scheme for obtaining the right to use the subsoil of the Svistunkovsko-Krasnolutskoye gas condensate field (Poltava region) at an artificially low cost, writes Ukrrudprom.
According to NABU, among the accused:
former Deputy Director for Production, Economics and General Affairs of the Ukrainian State Geological Prospecting Institute (UkrGGRI);
former head of the sector of geological and economic assessment of the oil and gas resource base of the department of geological and economic assessment of UkrGGRI;
expert of the State Commission of Ukraine on Mineral Reserves (GKS) and director of NPF Project-Naftogaz LLC;
ex-director of Arkona Gas-Energy LLC;
Leading Engineer of NPF Project-Naftogaz LLC (also an expert of the State Commission of Ukraine on Mineral Reserves);
Chief Engineer of OOO NPF Proekt-Neftegaz.
The actions of all six people are qualified under Part 2 of Art. 364 (“Abuse of power or position”). Five participants in the crime (the former manager, expert, ex-director of the LLC and engineers) were additionally charged with Part 1 of Art. 366 (“Official forgery”) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
As the investigation found out, during 2016-2017, Arkona Gas-Energy LLC repeatedly and unsuccessfully applied to the State Service of Geology and Subsoil of Ukraine for a special permit to use the subsoil of the Svistunkovsko-Krasnolutskoye gas condensate field without holding an auction. However, later the composition of the company’s owners changed – state and local authorities revised their attitude to the LLC’s appeals.
In April 2017, the Poltava Regional Council, after several preliminary refusals, agreed to the State Geonadra for granting a special permit for geological exploration of the field by Arkona Gas-Energy LLC without holding an auction. After that, the participants in the corruption scheme assigned roles and developed a plan to reduce the amount of the fee for issuing the said special permit.
To do this, they used non-existent indicators of the design production of gas and condensate, capital investments and operating costs, including depreciation. As a result, the initial sales price of the special permit was set at UAH 3.8 million.
At the same time, the initial cost of selling the special permit should be UAH 200.6 million. The estimated difference between the actually paid fee and the actual initial sale price of the special permit for subsoil use is UAH 196.8 million, which is the amount of damage caused to the state budget of Ukraine.
In July 2020, NABU and SAP reported to six individuals that they were suspected of organizing this scheme. In September 2021, the investigation was completed.
The investigation also establishes other persons involved in the commission of the crime: the investigation on this part is separated into a separate criminal proceeding.
The British company Enwell Energy, which is part of the Smart Holding group of Vadim Novinsky, announced in March 2020 the purchase of a license for Arkona Gas-Energy for $8.63 million for the Svistunkovsko-Krasnolutskoye field.