By Emmanuel Nduka
German Government has seized control of three Russian-owned oil refineries to secure supplies of gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel.
This was announced on Friday by the country’s economy ministry, stating that it had temporarily taken over Russian oil giant Rosneft’s subsidiaries in the country.
Rosneft Deutschland and RN Refining & Marketing account for about 12% of Germany’s oil refining capacity, the ministry said in a statement.
The German Government said the move was designed to “counter the threat to the security of energy supply.”
Europe has been embroiled in a bitter energy standoff with Russia since Moscow invaded Ukraine in late February, and its imports of Russian oil and natural gas have fallen sharply.
Germany’s Federal Network Agency, which regulates its gas and electricity industries, will control Rosneft’s shares in three refineries: PCK Schwedt, near Berlin, MiRo, near Heidelberg, and Bayernoil in Bavaria.
The Schwedt refinery is particularly important to Germany’s energy needs, processing about 220,000 barrels of crude a day. It is responsible for supplying about 90% of Berlin’s fuel, according to Reuters.
Earlier in May this year, the European Union agreed to ban 90% of Russian oil imports by the end of the year to choke off a vital source of funding for Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
Russia delivers crude oil to the Schwedt refinery via the Druzhba pipeline. The German economy ministry said that it would try to find alternate supply routes.
Shell (SHLX), which owns a 37.5% stake in Schwedt, told CNN Business on Friday that it was “unaffected” by the takeover. “Shell will continue to comply with its contractual obligations in accordance with its own shares,” a company spokesperson told CNN Business.