'We are independent!': Germany seizes control of three Russian-owned oil refineries

6 mins read

Germany has seized control of three Russian-owned oil refineries, as tensions between Moscow and the European Union escalate to new heights. Berlin has been scrambling to save energy and protect its supplies, as fears grow that Russian President Vladimir Putin could completely cut off gas flows by this winter. Germany’s energy regulator is set to take over control of stakes in oil refineries in Schwedt, Karlsruhe and Vohburg, which together account for around 12 percent of the country’s oil processing capacity.

According to a statement by Berlin’s economy ministry, the government has placed a unit of Rosneft, a Russian oil firm, under the trusteeship of the industry regulator and taking over the business’ Schwedt refinery, which is responsible for supplying 90 percent of Berlin’s fuel.

The ministry said: “With the trusteeship, the threat to the security of energy supply is countered and an essential foundation stone is set for the preservation and future of the Schwedt site.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that the move to take over Rosneft’s oil refineries has freed Germany from dependence on Russia, after importing nearly 40 percent of its gas from Moscow last year. 

He told reporters: “We are making ourselves independent of Russia, and any decisions that are taken there.”

As part of a broad package, Mr Scholz’s government has set aside about €1bn (£880m) for Schwedt, which also includes aid for the region. 

This move to seize Russian assets is likely to anger the Kremlin, however, the Chancellor said Germany is prepared for a situation where Putin retaliates by cutting off oil deliveries to the country.

Tensions between Russia and Germany have been escalating in the last month over energy supplies, after Gazprom, Russia’s state-backed energy giant “indefinitely” suspended gas supplied through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany.

Gazprom claimed the shutdown was due to a leak found in the pipeline, although supplies had been cut following the G7’s decision to impose a price cap on Russian oil. Experts have accused Putin of weaponising the pipeline. 

READ MORE: EU green energy companies face eyewatering £120bn windfall tax

The EU has been scrambling to support its power providers, and secure additional fuel deliveries, as it looks to end its reliance on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. 

In response, Moscow slashed gas flows and even threatened to shut off all the taps, sending prices soaring and raising the prospect of winter energy rationing in Europe.

Earlier this month, Putin railed against a proposed EU measure to issue a price cap on Russian gas imports, by threatening to “freeze Europe” by halting all flows. 

Rosneft Deutschland, which was majority owned by the Russian oil firm, is being placed under the trusteeship of the Federal Network Agency regulator.

The regulator added that Rosneft no longer had any authority to issue instructions to the site, which accounts for about 12 percent of Germany’s oil processing capacity.

Millions of Britons handed energy bills lifeline to slash £748 [REVEAL] 
Energy: Putin’s plot backfires as UK gas prices PLUMMET [INSIGHT]
Covid mystery as report claims virus may have leaked from US lab [REPORT]

Meanwhile, sources told Reuters that Polish refiner PKN Orlen has shown an interest in taking a controlling stake in the Schwedt site, which is Germany’s fourth-largest refinery and also supplies parts of western Poland.

London-based Shell, which owns a 37.5 percent stake in the refinery, has been looking to sell it for a while, stating on Friday that it was “unaffected” by the German move to take control of the refinery.

Germany will now be looking for alternative suppliers for the refinery, given that it received all of its crude oil from Russia.

As part of EU sanctions, Berlin has it vowed to end oil imports from Moscow by the end of the year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog