AndSource The Court was told about the “intrigues of unfriendly countries.” Industry experts predict deterioration of the situation with non-payments Arrangement of the Kharampurskoye field, which is key for the gas sector of Rosneft, turned out to be at the epicenter of litigation. As it turned out, the owners of a specialized mining enterprise did not pay hundreds of millions of rubles to contractors who executed multibillion-dollar contracts for the work performed. At the same time, during the litigation, representatives of Kharampurneftegaz itself and one of its founders, RN-Exploration and Production, argued their position with intrigues “from a number of unfriendly countries.” It is noteworthy that another shareholder of the field operator is BP Russian Investments Limited, registered in the UK and, accordingly, having financial interests in the development of Russian subsoil. Apparently, it was on the Western partner, whose representatives were absent from the meeting rooms, that they tried to lay responsibility in the subsidiaries of Rosneft. In the meantime, contractors continue to wait for payment for the completed work to create infrastructure, the agency's interlocutors in the fuel and energy sector point to “the typical position of the oil and gas giant in relation to its partners” and predict a deterioration in the situation with payment of debts under contracts.
The Moscow Arbitration Court ruled on the claim of Neftegazstroy LLC against Kharampurneftegaz LLC and RN-Exploration and Production LLC (both companies controlled by Rosneft PJSC) on the joint recovery of more than 198.2 million rubles for the work performed during the development of the Kharampurskoye deposits in YaNAO.
To clarify, the Neftegazstroy company is registered in the city of Neftekamsk in the Republic of Bashkortostan and specializes mainly in the construction of utilities for water and gas supply. The founder and director of the enterprise, according to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, is Nurikhan Dilmiev. The company has a portfolio of government contracts totaling 20.4 billion rubles, both with various federal and republican structures, and with PJSC NK Rosneft.
Neftegazstroy, among other things, was actively involved in the work on the Kharampur field development project. In particular, a number of major contracts were concluded with him, including, for example, an agreement with Kharampurneftegaz dated December 26, 2017 for the amount of more than 14.37 billion rubles for the construction of the External Transport Gas Pipeline fields – connection to Gazprom's UGSS.
In addition, during 2021-2022, agreements were concluded between the customer and the contractor for amounts from 190 million to 1.33 billion rubles, involving the construction of gas pipelines for a booster compressor station (BCS), a gas-gathering pipeline, a complex of technical means for protecting facilities, a platform for launching and receiving devices for cleaning and diagnostics, as well as pressure control units.
For each of the seven concluded agreements, Neftegazstroy carried out the scope of work stipulated by the conditions, and their total amount in financial terms exceeded 198.2 million rubles. It is noteworthy that certificates and acts confirm their acceptance without any comments from Kharampurneftegaz. At the same time, the documents provided for payment within 30 calendar days from the date of signing the documents.
Nevertheless, the Bashkir builders never received their money. Apparently, attempts to extract funds from the customer through negotiations did not lead to success, after which Neftegazstroy addressed the application to arbitration.
During the proceedings, it was stated that the Kharampurneftegaz company itself “was created for the purpose of developing the Kharampur field, which is one of the most important projects for the development of the gas business of Rosneft. Russian assets and BP Russian Investments Limited (49%) registered in Sunbury-on-Thames acted as its founder. However, there is no information about the British company on the official website of Rosneft, there is only an extremely sparing mention of the implementation of the Kharampur project “with the participation of a partner – BP”.
However, in the arbitration of representatives of BP Russian Investments Limited, also declared as a defendant, was never seen. But the lawyers of Kharampurneftegaz and RN-Exploration and Production stated that they did not recognize the claims.
“The defendant points out that due to the trade restrictions imposed by a number of unfriendly countries, the participants do not provide funding to Kharampurneftegaz LLC, which, in turn, does not allow it to make timely payments to the plaintiff for the work performed,” follows from the above arguments.
However, the Metropolitan Arbitration found these arguments unworthy of acceptance. In particular, it was pointed out that the introduction of trade restrictions by “a number of unfriendly countries” cannot be considered as a reason for the termination of financing for Kharampurneftegaz.
“…BP Russian Investments Limited is established in the UK, and therefore the general reference to the restrictions of other unfriendly states is unfounded. In addition, trade sanctions restrictions are a ban on certain settlements in foreign currency through foreign banks, as well as on transactions with persons included in the sanctions lists. There is no evidence that Kharampurneftegaz LLC is one of such persons in the case file…” the court concluded. the ultimate beneficiaries, the company, therefore, acted in their interests, which means that all defendants should be jointly and severally liable to the Bashkir contractor. Neftegazstroy's requirements were met in full. However, it is possible that Rosneft structures will prefer to appeal against the decision.
In the meantime, observing the proceedings, the interlocutors of the agency in the federal industry community call the situation “acquiring a typical character” and predict the development of negative trends in the relationship between VIOCs and contractors.
“This situation has been observed since the Olympics in Sochi, if we talk in general about the relationship with the performers. References to “spike in the wheel” by foreign partners are just a convenient pretext. Now in the sphere they do not pay all the time, and, based on observations, the situation will only get worse. To some extent, we are returning to the turbulence of the 90s. Then there were exceptionally high risks that you would simply be “thrown” without an advance payment. My colleagues in the oil and gas industry, who own enterprises, say directly that they refuse to deliver anything without prepayment, focusing on such cases, as well as an unclear situation with prices. Nobody wants to walk through the minefield, ”concludes the interlocutor of the agency in the federal trade union.