The Ukrainian government has appointed six new members to the supervisory board of state-controlled gas producer and importer Naftogaz Ukrainy in a bid to attract a €189 million ($205 million) grant from the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD).
The country is still battling Russian forces following the invasion of Ukraine last February, and hopes that the EBRD grant, plus funding from major European energy companies, will help get through the winter without domestic gas rationing.
“The company will be able to import additional volumes of gas with these funds,” Ukraine Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said when announcing the appointments.
The new supervisory board, which is intended to demonstrate a strengthening of governance and anti-corruption compliance, includes former senior vice president of Norway’s Equinor, Tor Martin Anfinnsen; former chief executive of Canada-based Vermilion Energy, Anthony Marino; industry veteran Richard Hookway, who held a range of senior leadership roles during a 35-year career at BP; and Ludo Van der Heyden, a professor at France’s INSEAD business school.
The supervisory board also includes two government representatives.
Naftogaz executive chairman Alexei Chernyshov said in a social network post last week that his meetings in Davos, Switzerland, had led to the company securing access to financing from EBRD and banks in Norway, US, Germany, France and the UK to help buy and import gas.
He added that Naftogaz has also “reserved” enough gas with leading energy companies to “successfully complete this winter”.
Chernyshov did not specify the volume of gas that Ukraine will need to import, but Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky told the European Council in December that the country may require at least 2 billion cubic metres of gas before the end of June.
The announcement of new board members took place less than a week after former Naftogaz chairman Andriy Kobolev — who was dismissed from his role with the company in April 2021 — came under investigation by Ukraine’s anti-corruption authorities on suspicion of embezzling the equivalent of about $10 million, Reuters reported.
According to a posting on Facebook, Kobolev refuted the allegations and said he that he “will prove myself right”.