Gazprombank Threatens to Take Critical Supplies of Ukrainian Gas Stored Underground as Collateral for Unpaid Loan

Russian state-owned bank, Gazprombank, stated on December 15 that it could seize ‘‘‘ or demand the impounding of ‘‘‘ some 5.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas currently being held in Ukrainian underground storage, reserves that are reportedly critical to Ukraine‘s winter supplies.  Gazprombank is demanding the repayment of $842.5 million from a loan previously provided to Dmitry Firtash‘s Ostchem to fund the initial purchase of these gas supplies.  The gas reportedly serves as collateral for the loan.  If Gazprombank takes control of that gas, it would become the largest owner of gas currently stored underground in Ukraine.  Dmitry Firtash was arrested in Vienna on March 12 at the request of U.S. authorities.  He was later released on bail.