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: