Who develops oil resources in Crimea

Russian or Ukrainian: who helped the New Projects company to enter Russian fuel market

Previously little-known New Projects (NP) company has obtained a license to explore oil and gas on the shelf off Crimean shores. Anastasia Khlopkova and Sofia Savina found out how the New Project had obtained a state big contract and to which Russian and Ukrainian businessmen it has been linked.

This has been difficult for both Ukrainian and Russian business to work in Crimea: the former are not welcomed from local authorities while the latter are reluctant to face international sanctions. Those who has got business interests in the peninsula have to look for the ways for survival following Crimea absorption by Russia in 2014.

The enigmatic New Projects Ltd was registered in 2006 but had been sleeping until 2015. In 2016, the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev issued a license to the NP over 30-year lease of shelf in Crimea.

The NP’s majority shareholder has been Anton Dornostup, with 99% of the company’s shares belong to the Glavnefteservis JSC he owns. Another co-founder is Oleg Kochagov. Initially, the NP’s owners were the Ukraine’s Fore Seasons Trade Ltd. In 2015, it sold all the assets to Yalta deputy mayor Vitaly Mostovoi, who died the next year.

Dornostup was born in Orenburg and his father Sergei had worked there in the Gazprom’s local division. Currently, Sergei Dornostup has been working as a CEO in three companies.

Anton Dornostup has been linked to the former chief of the federal mineral resources agency Rosnedra, Valery Pak. Dornostup has been a General director in the Ruswell Ltd, which has been owned by Petr Pak, son of the Rosnedra’s former head. The NP shares legal address with the Ruswell and OGK Group, headed by Anatoly Pak, another son of the Rosnedra’s ex-chief.

Valery Pak used to be not only a deputy minister for natural resources but also headed oil companies, for example, the Russia Petroleum. One of its founders has been Tyumen Oil Company Ltd. Its successor has been the RN Holding belonging to the Rosneft. In early 2000s, Pak was a member of the BoD in the Rosneft, Verkhnechonskneftegaz and Eastern Siberian Gas company.

Thus, it looks possible that the NP represents the interests of the Russian oil companies. The other possibility is, that Anton Dornostup has been just a nominal owner of the NP, while its real owners is Ukrainian Sergei Kurchenko. Kurchenko is believed to be “a wallet” of the Ukraine’s ousted President Victor Yanukovich and Kurchenko has been a close acquaintance of Yanukovich’s son Alexander.

Owner of the VETEK Holding Sergei Kurchenko moved from Ukraine to Russia in 2014. The journalists had found a website of the Premier Oil Group, linked to Kurchenko.

That domain name was registered on March 31 at the GazNeft-Service Ltd, a managing company in the VETEK. One of the company’s main assets had been the Neftegaz trade house supplying oil products to Russia, and Crimea in particular. The website has been down for some time.

In August 2016, the Bashneft oil company bought pumping equipment from the Neftegaz worth 52 mln rubles. The Neftegaz has also signed contracts with the Rosneft’s and Gazprom’s subsidiaries as well as with the TNK-BP, Lukoil, Burneftegaz and Irkutsk oil company.

The influential figures had intervened to allow the NP to transfer its assets from Ukraine to Russia.

The NP has not changed its “residence” over the night. Initially, the company had been registered in Kiev and moved to Simferopol after Crimea had joined Russia.

In July 2015, the NP asked the Crimean court of arbitration to register it in Russia. The company claimed it had been presented in Simferopol since March 18, 2014 in the building of the Nash Parus Ltd. The same time, the NP’s formal legal address at that time had been in Kiev and the NP’s owner had also been a Ukrainian Four Seasons Trade.

The court upheld the NP claim. On Sept 29, 2015 the company obtained a legal address in Simferopol. In December, the Four Seasons Trade sold the NP to Vitaly Mostovoi. In 2016, the NP was bought by Anton Dornostup’s Glavnefteservis and Oleg Kochagov and  moved to Moscow.

The Nash Parus (Our Sail) Ltd was established in 1997. It was registered in Russia in January 2015. The company’s owner Irina Plotkina also owns one more company in Crimea, the Sun City. The two companies share a phone number with four more local firms.

One of them, the Krymparkservis was established in 2000. It belongs to a former member of the Crimean parliament Ksenia Dorofeeva. Since January 2000, she has been working as a chief accountant in Yalta’s Krymbolgaryurservis Ltd (headed by Crimean former deputy Prime minister Nikolai Yanaki until 2009).

Before Crimea’s accession to Russia, Yanaki had been in business. His political career lasted from 2014 to August 2016. The Prime Minister of Crimea Sergei Aksenov said that Yanaki had been “an honest official who initially considered his public work as temporary”.

In November 2015, Nikolai Yanaki offered to exclude Crimean Pine from the Russian “Red Book” of endangered species. The local media supposed Yanaki had pursued his commercial interests as he rented 7,000 hectares in the area the pines grew.

Two more companies the Nash Parus shares a phone number with, have been the Kermen (est. in 2014 by Andrei Sushilov) and the Dobrovskaya Dolina.

In 2014, the head of the Dobrovskaya Dolina was Inna Achkasova, chief accountant in the Nash Parus. She was succeeded by Victor Khortiv in 2015.

The Dobrovskaya Dolina owners have been Oksana Kunchenkova (in 2012 - a manager in the Urkeximbank) and Andrei Priputnikov (in 2002-2006 a member of the Crimean parliament). In 2008, his fortune amounted to $190,000.

Priputnikov’s son Alexander has established nine companies in Crimea dealing with resort infrastructure, property and fuel trade.

He sold his share in one of those companies, the Avtogazkomplekt-Krym, to Sergei Beim, who headed the state-owned Chernomorneftegaz company before 2014.

Beim and his brother have been among the richest businessmen in Crimea in 2014, with their fortune equal to $135 mln.

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