The board ex-head stressed that on the date of his dismissal, the company had more than $2 billion of free funds on its account, and 7 billion cubic meters of natural gas owned by Naftogaz in underground storage facilities.

 “Thus, with the financial plan, which, unfortunately, was not approved for us for this year, we were going to ensure the safety of the next winter, ensure all investments in production and transfer, in addition to all standard tax payments, another UAH 32 billion,” he added.

The company had a very difficult conversation with the Ministry of Finance, “which accused us that we are hiding some money and are not showing something,” according to Kobolev. “As a leader who thinks about winter and other big challenges, such as hindering the completion of the construction of Nord Stream 2,

I understood the need to plan our activities in order to ensure that Naftogaz is financially balanced. What is security for next winter? It’s enough money. Out of $2 billion, we are UAH 32 billion, that is, more than $ 1 billion were ready to transfer the budget in one way or another … Therefore, when they say“ Kobolev, you have too much money”, then, firstly, it is not with me, but in the state-owned company Naftogaz. Secondly, this money

The legal maneuver used to fire the CEO of Naftogaz raises doubts about Ukraine’s commitment to shield state companies from interference by politicians.

That was the fear expressed yesterday by a host of Ukraine-watchers: the State Department spokesman i Washington, the G7 Ambassadors in Kyiv, the speaker of the Rada, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine. To fire Andriy Kobolyev one year into his 4-year term, the Cabinet of Ministers resorted to suspending the Naftogaz Supervisory Board for two days, and then switching Kobolyev for his former deputy, Yuriy Vitrenko.

“I do not think that the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers was legitimate,” Kobolyev told Interfax Ukraine.

“I believe that this decision puts an end to corporate reform. It is important not only for Naftogaz or for me personally, it is important for the entire corporate governance system that has been built over the past seven years.” In a Facebook post, Kobolyev said he left his office keys for Vitrenko to avoid “a circus” but intimated that he plans to appeal his dismissal.

Naftogaz veered from a $93 million profit in 2019 to a $685 million loss in 2020

, the state oil and gas company reported. Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolev said the company turned a net profit during the first quarter of this year. “The company bottomed out and started generating profit,” declining to go into details. He said the company might seek to place a Eurobond, noting: “We now believe that the borrowing market for Naftogaz is very positive and attractive.”