PAO Tatneft v Ukraine 2020 EWHC 3161 Comm - 23 November 2020
By an order made ex parte and dated 9 August 2017, Teare J granted PAO Tatneft ("Tatneft") permission to enforce a New York Convention Award dated 29 July 2014. By an application dated 31 January 2020, Ukraine applied to set aside the order in part. Previous challenges to the order brought by Ukraine have been rejected by Butcher J ( EWHC 1797 (Comm)) and by Cockerill J ( EWHC 3740 (Comm)). In my judgment, I adopt the terminology used in the earlier judgments.
The background to the case has been explained by Butcher J. In an arbitration under UNCITRAL Rules brought by Tatneft, a Russian oil company, on 21 May 2008 under an arbitration agreement in article 9 of a BIT between Ukraine and Russia, Tatneft was awarded damages in the principal sum of US $112 million. This comprised damages of $31 million in respect of the so-called "$31 million claim", which concerned shares in a Ukrainian company called Ukrtatnafta that Tatneft had acquired directly from the company, and of $81 million in respect of the "$81 million claim", which concerned shares in Ukrtatnafta that Tatneft indirectly acquired by buying interests in Seagroup, a US company, and in Amruz, a Swiss company: both had, Tatneft claimed, acquired shares in Ukrtatnafta from the company under agreements dated 1 June 1999. The consideration given for the shares was by way of promissory notes drawn and issued by Seagroup and Amruz respectively. In the event, only two of the 36 notes issued by Seagroup, 35 of which were for one million dollars and one for $845,132, were redeemed, and only one of the 30 notes issued by Amruz, for one million dollars each, was redeemed. The other notes were sold by Ukrtatnafta at a loss.