Top en­ergy ex­perts will par­tic­i­pate in Kyiv Post Tiger Con­fer­ence on Dec. 2

Kyiv Post - - Business - Editor’s Note: The Kyiv Posts hosts its fourth Tiger Con­fer­ence Ukraine: Cre­at­ing the New So­cial Con­tract on Dec. 2 at the Hil­ton Kyiv. For ticket in­for­ma­tion, please go to: The fol­low­ing are snapshots of con­fer­ence speak­ers on

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)

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