For over a decade the proliferation of so-called “Gas Trading” companies in Europe has destabilized the EU energy market and possibly criminalized it as well. The appearance of such companies as RosUkrEnergo, the Centrex group of companies, Gazprom Germania, YugoRosGas, Eural Trans Gas, Overgas, and others, all linked in some fashion to Russia’s state-owned gas monopoly, Gazprom, have not added any value to gas transactions in the EU. Furthermore, these companies have been linked to numerous scandals and conflict of interest cases involving high-level officials in the EU.
In January 2009 one such company, RosUkrEnergo, played an instrumental role in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine that led to a gas blockade of Europe, causing considerable human suffering and financial damage to the economies of those countries most affected. It is highly likely that had this company not been inserted into the Russian-Ukrainian gas supply-transit chain, the “Gas War” of January 2009 would not have taken place.
The lack of transparency, the practice of hiding the names of beneficiaries, the use of off-shore nameplate companies, and the secretive nature of Gazprom’s contracts with it clients all bode ill for the EU.
In brief, the major findings of this paper are:
- The existence of dozens of non-transparent “gas trading” companies established throughout Europe by the Russian state-controlled natural gas monopoly, OAO Gazprom, constitutes a serious threat to the energy security of the European Union.
- Some of these middlemen companies have been linked to organized crime groups in Russia and in Europe while others are suspected of laundering millions of dollars into the accounts of high-level Russian, Ukrainian, and other officials. The huge sums involved have a corrupting influence on local government officials and deprive the citizens of their countries of the honest services they deserve and expect from their elected and appointed officials...