Berlin seizes the activities of the Russian group Rosneft in Germany

published on Friday, September 16, 2022 at 10:04 am

The energy showdown between Berlin and Moscow took a new step on Friday with Germany placing under supervision the activities of the Russian giant Rosneft in the country, in order to “secure” its oil supply.

Rosneft subsidiaries in Germany, which represent 12% of the country’s oil refining capacity, are placed under forced “trust administration” by the national agency that manages the energy networks, the economy ministry said in a statement. a statement.

With this trusteeship “it is a question of responding to the risks which weigh on the security of supplies” of energy in the country, specified the ministry.

In detail, the measure concerns the subsidiaries Rosneft Germany (RDG) and the company RN Refining & Marketing (RNRM), which hold shares in three large refineries.

In this way, the German government takes control of the PCK refinery in Schwedt, in the east of the country, where Rosneft holds a majority share (54.2%) and which provides oil supplies to the capital Berlin and the entire region around.

In the two other sites concerned, MiRo in Karlsruhe and Bayernoil in Vohburg, Rosneft holds a minority stake alongside other major Western oil players.

The conservatorship takes effect Friday and is initially limited to six months.

– Previous in the gas –

Berlin already took control in early April of the former German subsidiary of Gazprom, Gazprom Germania, to secure its gas supply this time.

Since then, the German government has had to release aid of 9 to 10 billion euros to save this entity threatened with bankruptcy.

Now it is the future supply of oil that must be guaranteed, the EU having decided on an embargo on Russian oil following the war launched by Moscow in Ukraine.

Germany has pledged to end imports by the end of the year.

The Schwedt refinery so far processes Russian oil transported via the Druzhba (“friendship” in Russian) pipeline and nothing will change immediately.

By taking control, Berlin wants above all to prevent the refinery from being dispossessed of certain assets by its owner, or even from being liquidated outright, for lack of sufficient cash or Russian oil.

Such scenarios would endanger the country’s energy security.

– What future for Schwedt?-

In order to keep the Schwedt site, the government has so far tested several models, including complete nationalization.

The coalition around Social Democratic Chancellor (SPD) Olaf Scholz has finally amended an old law on energy security, so that fiduciary management or expropriation is made possible.

Berlin has been looking for months for alternatives to Russian oil to ensure the maintenance of activity in Schwedt.

On site, the 1,200 employees of this former communist East German factory, supplied with Russian oil since the 1960s, are worried about their future.

Mr. Scholz must present Friday at midday with the Minister of the Economy a plan to guarantee the future of the site of Schwedt.

This refinery can also be supplied with oil via the ports of Rostock, in the north of the country, and Gdansk in Poland.

But the question of transporting fossil energy from these ports to Schwedt by pipeline has not yet been resolved.

The Schwedt plant, about 100 kilometers from Berlin, supplies around 90% of the fuel and fuel consumed in the capital and its region, including kerosene for the international airport.

Europe’s largest economy has already sharply reduced its dependence on Russian oil imports, which accounted for 35% of its supplies before Russia’s war in Ukraine.

At the same time, Russia has for the moment stopped its gas deliveries to the country, which will not be able to replace it completely before 2024, according to the latest government forecasts.

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