Shell (companies), Ukraine, hydrocarbons and the limits of Ukrainian journalism (not to mention a willfully blind EU eye)?

The day after the EU met with Edward Stavysky, the current Ukrainian Energy Minister, a meeting that will bring about a high level round table over EU sponsorship over the upgrading of the Ukrainian gas transport system (GTS) amongst other things – I am left pondering many things.

There has been a bad smell over the inclusion of a company called GEO Service arbitrarily in Ukrainian government deals with major oil and gas explorers and producers.  The reason for the bad smell becomes a little clearer with this piece in the Ukraine Pravda – but it no surprise.  It is no surprise that the oil majors are going along with it either.  Big oil (and gas) is a very murky business no matter who is involved.  This for them is standard practice no doubt.

However, it does not stop at Geoservice and the inferences made within that article – possibly more so when mentioning the current Ukrainian Energy Minister.

Unfortunately Ukraine Pravda does not go further than to elaborate on what it was spoon fed/given to build a story around – and investigative journalism in Ukraine is not particularly the safest of jobs.

However, if there was a Ukrainian investigative journalist at a loose end, they may not go far wrong in looking at the Energy Minister himself and other seemingly “no value” or “strange” business entities somehow involved in hydrocarbons in Ukraine – other than the infamous Geoservices which seems to concentrate media attention.

If they were to need a few dots to join together, some interesting dots amongst the vast mosaic of opaque vested interests could be a dot/company called “Vodi Ukraine”.  Another dot would necessarily be Nadra Ukraine.  Perhaps those dots could be joined together?

The Vodi Ukraine  (which means Water Ukraine)  misnomer should not put off our investigative journalists.  Vodi Ukraine may have more to do with hydrocarbons than water perhaps?

Maybe if these dots do connect, they should look to the dots relating to shale gas exploration in western Ukraine and who holds the exploration licenses.  The oil majors who are going to explore there know already – it shouldn’t be too difficult to find out – officially or via leaks.

Naturally if all those dots can be connected – that leaves the dot that is the current Energy Minister, Eduard Stavysky.

Now he is not the dot behind Nadra Ukraine.   He is not the dot behind the oil majors exploring shale in western Ukraine.  So how does his dot connect if indeed it does?

As Vodi Ukraine adds no value to the chain but somehow managed to get the exploration licenses in western Ukraine and is therefore within the chain for no apparent reason that to siphon/make a profit from actually doing nothing of value – one might ask, perhaps, who is the dot behind the Vodi Ukraine dot?  Our ministerial dot perhaps?

As I say, I am no investigative journalist, and far be it from me to make categorical statements when lacking the type of evidence produced in the Ukraine Pravda link above, that there would be a story there waiting to be broken – but I was always very good at dot to dot as a child and never once messed up the picture.

Now if all those dots did make a pretty (but nefarious) picture just as the Geoservice dots do, given the open door policy to Ministers the oil and gas majors have, then the EU must have a completed dot to dot picture – and thus must be willfully turning a blind eye – even if for the greater good as they may see it.

Anyway, what chance that an investigative journalist would join all the dots I mention eh?