Burisma Holdings: Biden's Son Joins Ukraine's Top Private Gas Company

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U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (R) points to some faces in the crowd with his son Hunter as they walk down Pennsylvania Avenue following the inauguration ceremony of President Barack Obama in Washington, January 20, 2009.

The Ukrainian gas company that Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, just joined is a growing conglomerate that has been compared to "Exxon in its early days."

Burisma Holdings announced Tuesday that the younger Biden will join the company as the head of its legal unit. 

“The company’s strategy is aimed at the strongest concentration of professional staff and the introduction of best corporate practices, and we’re delighted that Mr. Biden is joining us to help us achieve these goals,” Alan Apter, chairman of Burisma’s board of directors, said in a statement featured as a top story on the company’s home page.

Burisma is a private oil and gas company founded in 2002, under joint activity agreements with Ukrainian state-owned producers, and quickly grew to become the largest private gas producer in Ukraine. The company’s average daily output stood at 10.5 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day in September 2013, and could double that figure within two years. All of the company’s gas is sold to industrial customers in Ukraine. 

Biden is not the only well-connected American to join the company. Just a few weeks ago, when the vice president made an official trip to Ukraine, Burisma appointed one Devon Archer to its board. Archer is a wealthy investor and Democratic campaign fundraiser with long ties to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Archer was an adviser to Kerry's presidential campaign in 2004 and co-chaired Kerry's National Finance Committee. Upon his appointment to Burisma, Archer said that the energy conglomerate reminded him of "Exxon in its early days."

The company’s portfolio of licenses is well-diversified across all three of Ukraine’s key hydrocarbon basins – Dnieper-Donets, Carpathian and Azov-Kuban, and its fields are fully connected to the major gas pipelines in the country, allowing Burisma to keep the cost of production relatively efficient.

Natural gas is the largest energy source in Ukraine, accounting for 38 percent of total primary energy production during 2011. The country relies on Russia’s gas company Gazprom currently to satisfy most of its energy needs, but will aim to reduce that dependency in coming years, and Burisma is well-positioned to boost its share of the domestic market.  

“As a new member of the board, I believe that my assistance in consulting the company on matters of transparency, corporate governance and responsibility, international expansion and other priorities will contribute to the economy and benefit the people of Ukraine,” Biden said regarding his new appointment. 

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