Top energy experts will participate in Kyiv Post Tiger Conference on Dec. 2
Robert Bensh, moderator
Robert Bensh has more than 25 years’ experience in the energy sector and has headed energy and resource companies in Ukraine for the past 15 years. He is the managing shareholder of Leadville Resources Inc, and the managing partner of Pelicourt LLC., a private equity firm focused on the energy sector in Ukraine and eastern Europe. He is also director of Gastek/KUB, the largest private oil and gas producer in Ukraine.
“You have power, you have coal, you have oil and gas, and there’s a lot of talk about green or renewable and I don’t think that’s feasible within the Ukrainian portfolio. I think it’s nice to talk about,” Robert Bensh told the Kyiv Post.
A social contract for Bensh means “increasing investment.” He doesn’t want to see an “investor with capital,” instead, Bensh wants to see “businesses with capital.”
“I want to see multiple reputable energy businesses coming in to develop our power sector, or coal sector and our oil and gas sector,” Bensh said.
Yuriy Vitrenko is an
economist and business development director of stateowned Naftogaz Ukrainy, where he has worked in various capacities since 2002. He also is a founding director at AYA capital, a Kyiv-based private equity firm. Vitrenko is a graduate of Insead Business School and prior to Naftogaz, he worked in investment banking at Merrill Lynch in London, and management consulting with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Ukraine.
Vitrenko said that once corporate governance improvements are made at Naftogaz based on an Oct. 16 Cabinet resolution, the oil and gas giant will become the best state-run company.
“One can speak a 1,000 times about the need for radical reforms in the interests of all Ukrainians,” he said on his Facebook page in October. “But all the while underhandedly fight for personal control of cash flows. Yet one can still do it (reform) and not reinvent the Ukrainian wheel, just by simply applying proven international standards (of
Edward Chow is an international energy expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In his position as senior fellow at the institute, Chow advises governments, international finan- cial institutions, and major oil companies on the oil and gas markets. Prior to joining CSIS, Chow worked for Chevron Corporation for over 20 years. In his final position at the company, he served as manager of international external affairs at Chevron’s headquarters.
For Chow the first step towards reform in the energy sector is political will, and the first sign that it exists will be when it is clear that the authorities have a strategy, one that they can explain to the public.
“There is currently no political will, if there were they would be engaging the population to explain why what they need to do needs to be done,” he said.
“The system is too complicated to reform overnight,” Chow said. “Meanwhile the Ukrainian government could carve out an area to experiment in the domestic extraction sector… create a success story to then garner political capital.”
Mike Kirst is vice president of strategy and external relations for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Westinghouse Electric Company. Kirst first joined Westinghouse, a leading nuclear power company, in 1996 after four years at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels. During his time at Westinghouse, Kirst has been credited with Ukraine’s decision to select the company to provide 25 percent of its nuclear fuel requirements.
He is a member of the executive committee and board of directors of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council and a member of the Nuclear New Build working group of FORATOM in Brussels.
Nicolescu is executive lead advisor in energy at Deloitte Central Europe. Nicolescu has spent his entire career in the energy sector and he has acted for both private and public interests. In 2014, he served as the Romanian delegate minister for energy. Prior to this he was president of the Administrative Board of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, a European Union agency, and for more than five years he was director in the largest oil and gas producer in southeast Europe OMV Petrom.
Nicolescu graduated from Energy Faculty of Politehnica University of Bucharest and holds a master’s in business degree from the Solvay Business School in Belgium.
Yevhen Utkin, president of KM Core, speaks at the “Scenarios for Ukraine – Reform Imperative” panel during the Kyiv Post Tiger Conference on Nov. 19, 2014. (Pavlo Podufalov)