The Daily Telegraph
Germany seizes three refineries run by Rosneft
BERLIN has seized control of three oil refineries in Germany owned by Russia’s state oil giant Rosneft, as it seeks to secure energy supplies in the wake of the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The German government is putting into trusteeship two Rosneft units which own stakes in refineries in Schwedt, Karlsruhe and Vohburg, accounting for about 12pc of German oil processing capacity.
The move comes as the EU prepares to ban imports of oil from Russia by the end of the year, with Germany setting out measures to make sure the refineries can receive oil from other routes.
It marks an escalation of the energy war between Russia and the EU since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which has seen the Kremlin push the Continent to the brink of recession by cutting gas flows. Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, said he was prepared for the risk of retaliation from Mr Putin over the oil refineries, such as a halt to oil deliveries.
Oil stores in Schwedt and Leuna are full, he added, while talks with Poland over replacing Russian oil sup- plies are advanced.
“We are making ourselves independent of Russia, and any decisions that are taken there,” he said yesterday.
Under German law, the government can take over the running of an energy company on energy security grounds. It has already put into trusteeship a unit of Gazprom, the Kremlinowned gas company.
Shell, the FTSE 100 oil and gas company, owns 37.5pc of the Schwedt refinery, which has typically received all its oil from Russia.
A spokesman for Shell told Reuters it was “unaffected” by the order and will “con- tinue to comply with its con- tractual obligations”.
The move comes as Germany considers taking a controlling stake in the Düsseldorf-based utility Uniper, which is its largest importer of Russian gas. The company, majority owned by Finnish utility Fortum, has been hit hard by cuts to Russian gas which have forced it to buy energy on the expensive spot market.