Search

 

Cablegate: Moncrief Sues Basf Over Gazprom Gasfield Contracts

VZCZCXRO0228
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHFT #2892 1710538
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 200538Z JUN 07
FM AMCONSUL FRANKFURT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1991
INFO RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 6127
RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KYIV 0081
RUEHSK/AMEMBASSY MINSK 1521
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS FRANKFURT 002892

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

EB/ESC/IEC for Steve Gallogly

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG EINV GM RS
SUBJECT: Moncrief Sues BASF Over Gazprom Gasfield Contracts


1. SUMMARY: U.S.-based Moncrief Oil International has filed suit
against German chemical giant BASF in a German regional court
seeking EUR 6.3 billion in compensation for BASF's alleged role in a
cancelled Gazprom concession. Moncrief signed a contract with
Gazprom in 1997 to exploit 40 percent of the Yuzhno Ruskoye gas
field, one of western Siberia's largest (an estimated 600 billion
cubic meters); it now claims BASF damaged it by signing a later
contract with Gazprom over the same rights. Since 2004, BASF and
Gazprom have signed several far-reaching agreements to jointly
exploit the field (with the support of Russian President Putin and
chancellors Schroeder and Merkel) -- BASF is to hold 35 percent of
the shares, and German utility company Eon may also participate.
Moncrief says it had already invested heavily in the project and
accuses BASF of complicity in the deal's rupture. At a May 31
hearing, however, the presiding judge questioned whether Moncrief
can prove the validity of its prior agreement. Media sources say
that without such proof, Moncrief's chances to win the suit are
limited. END SUMMARY.

BACKGROUND / MONCRIEF'S PERSPECTIVE
-----------------------------------

2. Moncrief Oil -- a large, privately held Texas gas and crude oil
producer -- recently filed suit against Ludwigshafen-based BASF (the
world's largest chemical company) and its subsidiary Wintershall in
connection with disputed rights to the Yuzhno Russkoye gas fields in
Russia. Moncrief claims BASF purposefully induced Russian gas
company Gazprom to breach its contracts with Moncrief.

3. In 1997, Moncrief and Russian Gazprom subsidiary Zapsibgazprom
signed an exclusive contract guaranteeing a forty percent stake for
Moncrief in the Yuzhno Russkoye gas field in exchange for Moncrief
to provide equity capital, financial investors, technical expertise,
and business development for the gas fields. Moncrief claims that
it was unfairly denied its share in the gas fields (valued at $8.5
billion) -- after spending millions in project-related expenses --
due to a competing contract between BASF and Gazprom signed in 2004.


4. Moncrief filed its case at the Frankenthal county court
(Rheinland-Pfalz) in December 2006. Moncrief's legal action seeks
to annul BASF's contract along with injunctive relief, restitution,
and damages by proving a "tortuous interference" under German law.
To do so, it must show that BASF's actions toward Gazprom induced a
violation of Gazprom's existing contractual duties with Moncrief
(BASF rejects all charges). Presiding judge Manfred Nox has
acknowledged the court's jurisdiction and stated that German law
applies to the case; a ruling is scheduled for July 5, 2007.

5. NOTE: Moncrief's legal arguments are detailed at:
http://moncriefoilinternational.com/id37.html

IMPLICATIONS
------------

6. Moncrief believes that its litigation could affect the planned
Russian-German Baltic Sea Pipeline. The pipeline project, whose
economic viability has been criticized by energy analysts in the
past, can only meet its targets with a significant supply of gas
from the contested Yuzhno Russkoye field. Litigation by Moncrief
could further delay completion of the project, which is already
predicted to be unable to meet its scheduled operational target of
2010. Analysts and observers say publicly, however, that Moncrief
has yet to prove it had (and still has) a valid agreement with
Gazprom.

7. The contested gas fields have political implications as well.
The company says the Moncrief-Gazprom partnership was part of the
Bush-Putin Energy Initiative in 2003. On the German side, the
contested 2004 contract between BASF and Gazprom was signed in the
presence of then-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Russian President
Putin.

8. This message was coordinated with Embassy Berlin.

POWELL

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN SDG: UN Appoints Twenty Eminent Thinkers To Shed New Light On The World’s Greatest Challenges

New York, 21 January 2021 – Twenty prominent personalities, globally renowned for their intellectual leadership in economic and social fields, will form the second United Nations High-level Advisory Board (HLAB) on Economic and Social Affairs, the ... More>>

UN: As COVID Deaths Pass Two Million Worldwide, Guterres Warns Against Self-Defeating ‘Vaccinationalism'

With more than two million lives now lost worldwide to COVID-19, the UN Secretary-General appealed on Friday for countries to work together and help each other to end the pandemic and save lives. In a video statement , Secretary-General António Guterres ... More>>

UN: Violent Attempt At US Capitol To ‘overturn’ Election, Shocking And Incendiary

A group of independent UN rights experts released ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>