Polish and German energy industries join forces against Russian ownership of Schwedt refinery

The German government faces backlash from Russia over the potential sale of Rosneft shares to Polish Orlen

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: money.pl
A general view of a pumping station at the end of the Druzhba oil pipeline in the east German refinery PCK in Schwedt. (AP Photo/Sven Kaestner, File)

Russian energy giant Rosneft has accused Germany of being blackmailed by Poland, as Polish oil giant PKN Orlen has expressed its interest in acquiring shares in the Schwedt refinery owned by the Russian company.

A law firm hired by Rosneft accuses the German government of allowing itself to be blackmailed by Poland. Reuters reports that a potential investor that could take over the Russian shares is Orlen.

After the embargo on Russian oil came into effect, the Federal Republic of Germany had to find new suppliers for their refineries. One of the new sources of oil flowing to Germany is Poland. The agreement reached between Warsaw and Berlin allowed Germany to secure the important Schwedt refinery.

However, Polish help was conditional on pushing the Russians out as a shareholder. The majority shareholder of the refinery is still Rosneft Deutschland, a subsidiary of the Russian company Rosneft.

Germany has taken up this challenge. Getting rid of the Russians from the company’s shareholder structure should enable changes to the energy security law. This did not sit well with the Russians.

Recently, Poland and Germany made a preemptive move that thwarted the Kremlin’s plans to generate a fuel crisis in Europe. In early December, Environment Ministers Anna Moskwa and Robert Habeck signed an agreement pledging mutual support in ensuring the safe operation of Polish refineries in Gdańsk and Płock, as well as German refineries in Leuna and Schwedt.

The next step that could make the Kremlin’s plans more difficult is the change in the shareholder structure of the Schwedt refinery. The amendment to the energy security law, which is expected to enable this, has already been passed by the German government. It gives the government more freedom in transferring assets placed in trust.

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