Yuriy Vitrenko has signed a one-year contract to work as Chairman of Naftogaz,

announced Andriy Yermak, the chief of President Zelenskiy’s staff, at a meeting of Ambassadors of the G7 countries, Sweden and the European Union. With the Supervisory Board planning to quit today, the government has asked members to stay on until a new Board is chosen. The Board resigned after the Cabinet of Ministers briefly suspended the Board on April 28 in order to fire Andriy Kobolyev, who had served as CEO of state oil and gas company for seven years.

Former Naftogaz Chief Andriy Kobolev denies accusations of allegedly creating a hole in the 2021 state budget estimated at UAH 10 billion

. “We understand that they were counting on our money – for 10 billion UAH. Our plan was to replace dividends with one or another payment (the technology can be discussed – from government bonds to” advancing dividends “) in the amount of 32 billion UAH. The plan, which I communicated the Prime Minister and the President, they know about it,” he said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine.

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

Few complaints were aired yesterday about Vitrenko, widely seen as Western-oriented reformer.

Concorde Capital’s Alexander Paraschiy wrote:

“Vitrenko could be at least as efficient at the position of Naftogaz CEO as Kobolyev was, so there is no risk to Naftogaz operations with the top management replacement.”

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.”

Naftogaz blamed the 2020 loss on several factors:

writing off $830 million in long overdue debts with private gas distributors; the 2019 ‘unbundling’ that shifted revenues from Russian gas transit outside the Naftogaz group; and “record low prices” of gas. In December 2019, Naftogaz made a wrong way bet on European natural gas prices, which then plummeted by almost two thirds in the first quarter of 2020, to the lowest level in a decade. In April, Andriy Favorov, the company’s director of gas sales, was fired.