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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

$110 mil for Moncrief

//American Moncrief Oil does not get tired haunting Gazprom in the courts for refusing to sell her share of the Yuzhno-Russkoye field. The company demands $ 110 million from a would-be partner.
04-15-2009 - Vedomosti by Elena Mazneva, Kirill Khripunov - Moncrief Oil International is seeking to get $ 110 million compensation from Gazprom. Such a clarification was made in a lawsuit filed against Gazprom in the District Court of Tarrant County, State of Texas in April 2008, Gazprom stated in its memorandum related to the upcoming issue of Eurobonds. Also the lawsuit specified the amount [of damages] and the list of defendants. The memorandum says that in addition to Gazprom and its “daughters” [branches] named in the lawsuit, the Gazprombank was added to this list. $ 110 million is the amount of the potential profits that Moncrief Oil would have gained, if, together with its partner U.S. Occidental Petroleum, it would build a terminal in the United States to receive liquefied gas from Russia, explains Marshall Sourcy a lawyer for Moncrief Oil. Indeed, the agreement between Moncrief Oil and Occidental Petroleum was signed in the hope that Gazprom will provide Moncrief a share in the Yuzhno-Russkoye deposit. Sourcy did not elaborate why the Gazprombank is on the list of defendants. He only added that the next hearing in the case will take place in the “next two to three weeks”. According to Moncrief Oil, it was entitled to 20% in the Yuzhno-Russkoye field (with the possibility of increasing stake to 40%) in 1998, when it signed an agreement with the Gazprom branch “Zapsibgazprom”. In return, Moncrief has pledged to provide all the technology and $ 120 million investment. But the agreement was never implemented. First, Gazprom have lost control over the Yuzhno-Russkoye field and “Zapsibgazprom”. When the lost assets returned to Gazprom, it found other partners [for the project] - the German BASF and E. On (in 2005). Immediately after that, Moncrief filed a lawsuit in the District Court of Texas, seeking to realize its option [stake] or to get a compensation for the damages (The amount was not disclosed [at that time]). A similar lawsuit was filed in the Court of Berlin [in Germany]. The amount of the suit is $ 10 billion and the defendant is BASF Stephan Holzinger, the representative of Moncrief Oil International in Germany, says. There are no decisions made in Berlin yet. Moncrief Oil has lost the first lawsuit in Texas in 2007 when the Court ruled that it could not resolve the dispute, because Moncrief did not provide materials to have a “personal” jurisdiction for the Gazprom case. The second lawsuit in Texas, which amounts to $ 110 million, Moncrief Oil has filed based on newly discovered evidence. The company was going to prove that its claims are directly related to the State of Texas. Moncrief Oil was going to build LNG terminal in this state. As Moncrief stated in the lawsuit, Gazprom was also involved in the negotiations related to the project, (the database of judicial acts, USA). Moncrief in accordance with the local law shared with Gazprom confidential data, which is considered as “business secrets”. The project was not implemented. But a “granddaughter” [branch] of Gazprom - Gazprom USA, according to the Moncrief, now is using its secrets. The representatives of Gazprom and Occidental refused to comment on.

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