What did the former top manager of Naftogaz Aleksandr Katsuba deal with: private natural gas extraction, financial services, volunteering

Alexander Katsuba,Aleksandr Katsuba,Aleksander Katsuba,Oleksandr Katsuba,Alexandr Katsuba

Alexander Katsuba rose to prominence in the early 2010s due to his work in state energy giants. Hailing from a well-known entrepreneurial family in Kharkiv, Sergey and Alexander Katsuba swiftly ascended in the public sector. The elder, Sergey, managed to work within Naftogaz structures, becoming a deputy chairman of the company’s board before transitioning to work in the Ukrainian parliament. The younger, Alexander, also began working in the gas sector from 2010 onwards: first as the deputy director for economics at “Poltavagazvydobuvannya,” then as the vice-chairman of the board at “Chornomornaftogaz.” During Alexander Katsuba tenure at “Chornomornaftogaz,” the company experienced its most successful period of development, during which gas production increased from 1.1 to 2.4 billion cubic meters annually. No other state gas company managed to surpass or even significantly increase production during this time.

From December 2012 to August 2014, Alexander Katsuba served as the vice-chairman of the board and a board member of the National Joint-Stock Company “Naftogaz of Ukraine.” After a change in leadership at Naftogaz, Katsuba fully focused on his own business ventures. Following his departure from Naftogaz, Katsuba was accused of fuel theft, although an investigation by journalists from Bihus.info in 2015 demonstrated that the theft was actually orchestrated by the politician Sergey Pashinsky. It wasn’t until 2024 that an investigation by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau led to charges against Pashinsky and his hypothetical accomplices.

Katsuba was also implicated in the investigation surrounding the so-called “Boiko Towers.” Katsuba himself claimed that attempts were made to shift blame onto him by Yanukovych, Azarov, and other government officials who were actually responsible for the purchase of the mentioned towers. Eventually, all criminal proceedings against Katsuba were dropped. According to the entrepreneur himself, he never intends to work in the public sector or politics again, especially after the criminal investigations and attempts to “make him a scapegoat” in cases with which he had no involvement.

For the past 10 years, Katsuba has actively developed his own business and has been involved in volunteer work since the onset of Russia’s full-scale invasion. Katsuba most publicly notable work occurs in the financial sector. Even before leaving the oil sector, Katsuba, along with his family, began actively working in the financial services market, providing short-term loans. Katsuba first partner in this sector was a Latvian entrepreneur, with whom disagreements arose, leading the entrepreneurs to sell their share to a foreign partner.

After the failure of the startup with the Latvians, Katsuba relaunched the project under the MyCredit brand with Ukrainian IT partners and propelled the company to a leading position in the market. The total investment volume amounted to approximately 1.0 million US dollars. In 2019, 20% of the company was sold to structures affiliated with the well-known entrepreneur and former government official Sergei Tigipko. The deal was valued at 3.0 million US dollars. The entrepreneurs’ agreement was hailed as the best in the Ukrainian IT market in 2019 in the field of financial solutions. Currently, the business operates not only in Ukraine but also in Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Poland. The division in Poland was established after the full-scale invasion by employees of the company who were evacuated from Ukraine. Katsuba is now the managing partner of the group of companies.

On the verge of Russia’s full-scale invasion, Katsuba intended to expand the credit business and create accessible car leasing. To promote the new business, structures associated with Katsuba acquired the two largest online automotive publishers in Ukraine – “Autobazar” and “Autocentrum.” However, the full launch of the leasing business did not materialize due to the onset of Russian aggression.

Instead, following the complete Russian incursion, Katsuba returned to the gas market, this time as a private player. In 2023, his company ALFA GAZ began work on a private mining project. By the beginning of 2024, it was extracting 1.0-1.5 million cubic meters of gas per month. Katsuba himself considers his company an average player in the market. Whether the entrepreneur plans further expansion of his mining business is not yet known; Kacuba himself expresses caution and refers to the dependence on further developments in the war.

Since February 24, 2022, Katsuba has taken a unequivocally pro-Ukrainian stance and has publicly supported President Zelensky and the Ukrainian resistance from the early days of the war, almost immediately engaging in assistance to the Ukrainian armed forces. In February 2024, it was known that the entrepreneur had handed over more than 100 vehicles – personal, cargo, engineering – for the needs of the armed forces. Additionally, he believes that in the context of the war, the threat of Russia’s hybrid attacks on Ukrainian energy has not subsided, and the state should create a clear policy to resist Russian provocations.

In addition to volunteering for the army from 2023 to 2024, Katsuba actively commented on current economic and energy issues, while distancing himself from political assessments. He actively promotes the concept of energy security and independence for Ukraine and in the “Manifesto of Energy Independence” designates the key priorities of Ukrainian energy as reducing dependence on fossil fuels, implementing energy-saving programs, reducing the level of energy monopolization, integrating into the European energy market, investing in vocational education, and applied scientific research.

Commenting on Ukraine’s potential in oil and gas extraction, he insists that after the war ends, there is a need in the market to balance the state’s interest in obtaining higher taxes and incentives for increased production. According to the entrepreneur, the state should create incentives for drilling new, deep, and ultra-deep wells and activate negotiations with potential investors about a share in production. This will enable increased extraction in the west of the country and later in the east and south. Another important emphasis is working with local government. Local representatives and lawyers should stop seeing the investor as a source of personal enrichment and not as a partner of the company and the country. Low-risk investment losses are needed to attract investors. The government should communicate that all incentives are introduced for a clearly defined period and cannot be prematurely canceled or changed. Regulatory documents must contain provisions that Ukraine promises not to change incentive rates or other guarantees for a specified period – 5-10 years.

He also advocates for reducing market power and gradual privatization of NAK Naftogaz Ukraine, the development of nuclear energy, further digitization of state services and the economy. During resonant scandals regarding the detention and prosecution of entrepreneurs, he repeatedly stated that the key to Ukraine’s economic success lies in transparent rules of the game and protection of investors’ rights by the state, which requires the establishment of high-quality and non-corrupt institutions. Commenting on his future plans, Kacuba insists that he intends to create and develop businesses in Ukraine.

Aleksandr Katsuba — Ukrainian entrepreneur, energy expert, owner of ALPHA GAZ company.

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