Mykola Azarov presents the new Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Eduard Stavytsky.
According to official information, Ukraine is not a wealthy country. Therefore, it cannot extract gas deposits from non-conventional sources, including shale reserves, without some assistance. In other words, Ukraine needs partners. A story of epic proportions, called “Tenders to enter into agreements for the distribution of hydrocarbons” or production-sharing agreements (PSA), has been slowly unfolding since the beginning of 2012. At first, the best land was duly divided up, namely territories where shale gas would be extracted: in Yuzovsk (Donetsk and Kharkiv Regions) and Olesk (Lviv Region) territories.
How Shale Gas Deposits Were Divided Up
Five multinational companies applied for the first two tenders, namely ExxonMobil, Shell, and TNK-BP in Yuzovsk, and Chevron and Eni in Olesk. Global news agencies knew the names of the winners on May 10: Shell and Chevron. The media assumed that President Viktor Yanukovych’s last visit to the United States had played an important role in these processes; during the President’s stay in the USA, it was supposed that the conditions of Ukraine’s cooperation with important international oil and gas corporations had been thoroughly discussed. But, here the story becomes more and more interesting… Several questions can be raised about the conditions of the tenders won by Shell and Chevron. Both corporations pledged to invest at least 1.6 billion UAH for the development of the Yuzovsk territory and 1.3 billion UAH for the development of the Olesk territory. If these companies begin extracting fuel, Ukraine will be obliged to pay out half of the money spent on exploration to foreign companies. If not, the tender winners will pay for everything… If investors decide to implement industrial gas extractions in the Olesk territory, investments should reach at least 25 billion UAH, whereas in the Yuzovsk territory, they should total at least 30 billion UAH. However, the highlight of this incredible story is that Shell and Chevron will not extract these gases alone. Ukrainian authorities decided to impose their own partner – a joint venture created by Nadra Ukraine National Joint-Stock Company (90%) and a mysterious enterprise called SPK-Geoservice (10%).
SPK-Geoservice Appears On The Scene
It is a well-known fact that this national company won the tender with its chosen partner, Nadra Ukraine, in February, 2012. This event occurred when the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources was headed by Mykola Zlochevsky. However, Mr. Zlochevsky was dismissed by Viktor Yanukovych and transferred to the Council of National Security and Defense in April.
The minister’s chair was taken by Eduard Stavytsky, Head of the State Service of Geology and Mineral Resources. According to many well-informed persons, it should be noted that Mr. Zlochevsky had not “pronounced any important decisions” for quite some time, and all work operations had always been carried out “just as Edik ordered”. Mr. Stavytsky is now officially the main ideologist behind the “shale gas” project. This person really deserves to be called the “Family’s” right-hand man. His participation in the alienation scheme of Mezhyhirya is well worth mentioning. We can only sit back and envy the great strides that this civil servant has made in his career while working in Yanukovych’s government! However, let’s get back to SPK-Geoservice. No one knows who actually owns this company. There were ongoing assumptions that shale gas deposits constituted the latest business interests of top managers in the oil and gas industry. The grounds for these assumptions were as follows… Officially, the company was founded in 2008 by Serhiy Stovba, Director of Research Projects, Ihor Popadiuk, Chief Geologist, and his Deputy, Oksana Khryashchevska. Previously, all of these people had worked at the Naukanaftogaz Research Institute of Naftogaz Ukraine National Joint-Stock Company However, the subsequent course of events shows that it is more likely that these individuals were chosen to manage the company thanks to their close ties with the “Family” and the Minister of Environment, Eduard Stavytsky. Another interesting fact: according to her official biography, Oksana Khryashchevska, co-founder of SPK-Geoservice, graduated from Moscow State University with a major in Geology in 1998. As we all know, the Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov attended this same school – the Faculty of Geology at Moscow State University, an institution known for churning out “geniuses”. Even more interesting is that the largest companies of the world meekly accepted the conditions imposed by the Ministry of Environment. They agreed to allocate part of their earnings to the company that had been created by an unknown entity and for unknown reasons. But, perhaps the foreigners were actually told the truth. SPK-Geoservice has even posted photos of its new partners, Shell and Chevron, on its official website. Nadra Ukraine and SPK-Geoservice also created two new companies – Nadra Yuzovsk LLC and Nadra Olesk LLC. It is namely these two firms that will share the money and gas from the fore-mentioned multinational companies.
New Distribution Of Natural Resources
The government did not stop there… In addition to the Yuzovsk and Olesk territories, we also have the Black Sea shelf, rich in oil and gas deposits. It has always been exploited by the state-run Chornomornaftogaz Company, but apparently this enterprise was not powerful enough or lacked sufficient funds to continue. A few years ago, the first attempt was made to transfer the shelf to a private structure – the notorious Vanco Company. However, this first attempt failed to materialize. Now, the government wants to allow private companies to participate in the development of Foros deposits and Skifska oil and gas fields in the Black Sea. It seems that this time everything will turn out as planned. On August 3, 2012, the Minister, E. Stavytsky stated that tenders for the Skifska territory had been submitted by LUKOIL Overseas Ukraine, as well as a consortium including ExxonMobil, Shell, Petrom Romania (a branch of OMV Austria), and Nadra Ukraine National Joint-Stock Company. The results of this tender will be announced in a month. The winner will also sign a production-sharing agreement with the state for fifty years. In addition, the investor will be entitled to compensation for costs amounting to 70% of total production. The share of the state will be not less than 25%. No bids were submitted for the development of the Foros deposits. Mr. Stavytsky stated that the Ministry of Environment will review bidding conditions and then announce a new tender. This is where the plot thickens… Yesterday, August 6, the Antimonopoly Committee authorized Nadra Ukraine National Joint-Stock Company and Geoservice Chauda LLC to create a joint company called Nadra Shelf LLC. The purpose for creating this structure was not reported, but it seems that the company with the strange name – Geoservice Chauda – will perform the same function as SPK-Geoservice. Moreover, the names of the companies are very similar. Presumably, the newly-formed Nadra Shelf Company will enter into a partnership with world-renowned investment companies, which will receive the right to extract shale gas deposits in the Black Sea. Are ExxonMobil and Shell aware of the purpose of this new company? It is highly probable.
Who Controls Geoservice Chauda?
Who or what is behind this new and completely unknown partner of the state – Geoservice Chauda? It appears that the company was founded on April 17, 2012. Furthermore, the future partner of, let’s say, ExxonMobil, is located at 164 Kharkivske Road, Office No.1 in Kyiv.
Google Search: 164 Kharkivske Road, 22000 Kyiv (circled in red at the top)
We’ll explain the results of our search for readers who are not familiar with Kyiv: ExxonMobil and Shell’s partner is registered in an apartment situated in a so-called “bedroom” community of Kyiv. It’s not at all the most respectable and prestigious section of town… something like Queens in New York. The following are located at the same address: a pharmacy, a sauna, a notary public’s office and two law firms (circled in red at the bottom). The building used to be a residential area. The registered director of Geoservice Chauda is Oksana Viktorivna Manokha. According to information obtained by EP, this 31-year-old woman is registered in a village in the Kyiv Region.
Certificate Geoservice Chauda Limited Liability Company Identification code of legal entity – 38192943.
Location – 164 Kharkivske Road, Darnytsky District, 02091 Kyiv.
Director of the legal entity – Oksana Viktorivna Manokha.
Registration location of the case – Darnytsky District State Administration, Kyiv.
Date and name of preceding registration – 17.04.2012.
Social networks show only one page about Oksana Manokha (see below). She is an attractive woman who does not exactly fit the description of a capitalist shark, and neither does she seem like a person capable of working on equal footing with giant multinational companies.
Nevertheless, it seems that Ms Manokha is the same person acting as Director of Geoservice Chauda. Two pieces of information appear to confirm this fact: this Oksana (see below) is also 31 and works at Chornomornaftogaz.
Page: Oksana Manokha, 31 years old, Kyiv Ukraine;
last visit: 12:07
Higher educational institution: Kyiv State Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages, Kyiv, Ukraine,
1997-2002 Higher educational institution: Yu. Buhay International Scientific and Technical University, Kyiv, Ukraine, 2006-2010 Organization: Chornomornaftogaz government corporation, Kyiv, Ukraine, 2001-2010 (circled in red)
However, there’s more to come… A person with exactly the same name is the official Director of SPK-Geoservice, as evidenced by an entry in the Unified Register of Legal Entities. The same SPK-Geoservice is situated close by, at 144V Kharkivske Road. A beauty salon and the Mafia karaoke club are located at the same address.
Certificate SPK-Geoservice. Legal address: 144V Kharkivske Road, Kyiv.
Physical address: 5H Mykoly Bazhana Avenue, Kyiv. Founders – Serhiy Mykolayovych Stovba, Oksana Ivanivna Khryashchevska, Ihor Vasyliovych Popadiuk.
Accountant – Volodymyr Ivanovych Zhukov.
Director – Oksana Viktorivna Manokha.
We were unable to find a photo of the building located at 144V Kharkivske Road. But, here’s a photo of a building nearby (see below). It definitely looks like an excellent place for the headquarters of a well-known oil company!
Google Search: 144G (underlined in red) Kharkivske Road, Kyiv. Located at same address: Mafia karaoke club (circled in red)
Physical address of the same company – 5G Mykoly Bazhana Avenue, Kyiv (see below). The photo shows a typical residential building. It doesn’t even have a sauna.
Google Search: 5G Mykoly Bazhana Avenue, Kyiv
It’s interesting to note that Serhiy Mykolayovych Stovba lives in this building. He is a founding member and Director of Research Projects at SPK-Geoservice. See photo and information below.
Page: SPK-Geoservice Home Company Profile Field Visits Our Team Our Team Our team includes highly-qualified experts, who offered consulting services in regional geology, oil geology, geophysical studies, and geological explorations in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates, and Libya. Our experts have unique experience in working with such oil and gas companies as BP, Neftogaz Ukraine, OMV, the Polish Oil Company, Shell, Vanco, AngloUkrEnergy, and many others. Many years of work and experience have allowed our company to establish close ties with leading European scientists, including scholars in Ukraine and Russia. These ties have enabled us to attract the most highly-qualified executives and implement different projects. Our team: Serhiy Stovba, Doctor of Geological Sciences; Ihor Popadiuk, Candidate of Geological Sciences; Oksana Khryashchevska, Candidate of Geological and Mineral Sciences. Serhiy Mykolayovych Stovba, Doctor of Geological Sciences Director of Research Projects Mr. Stovba graduated from the Kyiv State University with a major in Geophysics in 1979. He then worked at the State branch enterprise Ukreofizyka; in 2003, he was employed at the Naukaneftogas Research Institute of Neftogaz Ukraine National Joint-Stock Corporation, and has been engaged at SPK-Geoservice since 2009. S.M. Stovba worked on his post-graduate degree as an external student at the Kyiv State University from 1982 to 1986. In 1990, he obtained the academic degree of Candidate of Geological and Mineral Sciences; he received the degree of Doctor of Geological Sciences in 2008. His professional and scientific activities involve seismic explorations using the seismic-reflection method and the correlation refraction method, seismic stratigraphic interpretations, tectonics, analyses of sedimentary basins, salt tectonics, paleogeography, and geological and geophysical mapping. He has taken part in various international projects including…
Many Questions, But No Answers…
There are still a lot of questions to be answered…
First question: Is there some kind of connection between the two companies – SPK-Geoservice and Geoservice Chauda? We don’t know who the owners of the latter company are, but it probably wouldn’t mean anything even if they were two different persons. We would like to remind our readers that SPK-Geoservice entered into a partnership with Nadra Ukraine National Joint-Stock Company in order to promote the development of the Yuzovsk and Olesk territories. It is obvious that Geoservice Chauda should enter into a partnership with the National State Corporation to promote the development of Black Sea deposits.
Second question: Who actually owns these two structures? With all due respect, it is hard to believe that the founders of SPK-Geoservice, who have spent most of their life working at scientific and research institutes, and despite their scientific merit, can measure up as full-fledged partners of such multinational giants as Shell and Chevron. Therefore, it seems logical to ask whether they’re acting as simple figureheads.
Third question: Could it be that the only mission of these newly-registered companies is to legalize traditional kickbacks in order to allow companies to extract Ukrainian gas? First, shale deposits, and then shelf gas.
Fourth question: Do the world-famous companies, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Shell actually know who they’ll be working with? Do they know who the owners of these strange companies with similar names really are – SPK-Geoservice and Geoservice Chauda?
Fifth questions: What role will the “Family” and Eduard Stavytsky play in all these processes? Finally, the sixth question is addressed to the real owners of SPK-Geoservice and Geoservis Chauda. If all our suspicions are justified … Could they at least try to create normal companies or employ more solid structures for a project involving large-scale multinational corporations… … instead of creating ephemeral shell companies located somewhere in residential districts…?