Oleksandr Vedenyeyev, “Through our actions we are restoring fairness that had once been lost in our relationsh with Gazprom.”

Oleksandr Vedenyeyev is the Head of Research at Naftogaz. He has a Master’s degree in economics and a Specialist degree in international private law. In 2011 Oleksandr obtained certificate of Chartered Financial Analyst. In 2018 he was awarded certificate of Energy Risk Professional (GARP). Mr Vedenyeyev has 10 years of experience in analytical departments of banking institutions and investment companies, and 5 years in energy companies.

– I first ask everybody about experienced emotions from the arbitration. What sticks in your mind?  

– I recall hearing drumroll right under the windows of the hotel in Oslo on the day of the first award of the arbitral tribunal, which perfectly represented ubiquitous anxiety. At the same time, I had this feeling that we were on the brink of something big, since that afternoon the tribunal was supposed to inform us whether we had provided enough of convincing legal and economic arguments against the Gazprom’s multibillion-dollar take-or-pay claim.

The second time I felt very emotional was back in February 2018, on the day of the final award in the transit case. When you see that at the end the tribunal agreed with your position, you feel a whole spectre of emotions: from happiness, since all the hard work you have been putting in for the last 3 years is not in vain, to a sense of achieving fairness that this victory brings.

– While preparing for the arbitration, you made thousands, not hundreds, of different calculations upon my request alone. May I ask you to be frank and tell me whether it was interesting for you to work on these calculations, discuss them with international experts, check final documents?

– The process was interesting, complex and crucial at the same time. Not every day do you get a chance to make your own contribution to the biggest commercial arbitration process in history, in which one of the parties is a company of your country’s enemy. I also thought of this process as of a personal frontline. I had to mobilise my entire intellectual resources while working with international experts in many spheres that I had previously been engaged in – from econometrics to tariff setting.

– Speaking of this work of yours, if we print out all the materials you worked on, how many of A4 sheets will we get?  

– The total number might well come out to several thousand or even more.

– What were you actually feeling when reviewing the final decisions and at the same time realising that your work had not been in vain? When I was reading the decision that declared the take-or-pay provision unconscionable, when I understood that our economic arguments were recognized to be much stronger than counterarguments offered by the mighty Gazprom, and when I realised that the value of the victory over this provision alone is USD 80 billion, I had a feeling of professional pride. What were you feeling?

– I think I felt pretty much the same. The tribunal’s every decision made me feel pride: through our actions we are restoring fairness that had once been lost in our relationships with Gazprom. I also had a sense of accomplishment, since our meticulous attention to details and stubbornness regarding some professional issues, that sometimes even led to heated discussions with international experts, did bear fruit.

*The feature series “Naftogaz Against Gazprom” is running in partnership with Yuriy Vitrenko, Executive Director of Naftogaz Group. Opinions expressed in these features do not necessarily reflect the views of Naftogaz Group or the NV editorial team.