Ukraine’s former acting energy minister Yuriy Vitrenko has become the new head of state oil company Naftogaz, the government in Kiev said on Wednesday. Vitrenko’s predecessor Andriy Kobolev was sacked due to the company’s poor financial performance.

Naftohaz reported this week that it reported a $684 million loss in 2020 due to lower demand for gas and lower gas prices, as well as the need to repay debts.

Vitrenko was executive director of Naftogaz for many years. The company is involved in both natural gas and oil production, as well as storing raw materials and supplying gas to consumers.

The government statement added that Vitrenko is to look into increasing domestic gas production and developing a full and fair market for gas trade in Ukraine. Kobolev conveyed that he would not comment on reports of his dismissal. According to Interfax-Ukraine agency, Vitrenko has ceased to be acting energy minister, a position taken by deputy minister Yuriy Boyko.

By Annie Cook (photo: Naftohaz/Twitter)