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8 Feb, 2024 11:04

Berlin to nationalize local subsidiary of Russian energy giant

Rosneft’s German assets were placed under a trusteeship in September 2022
Berlin to nationalize local subsidiary of Russian energy giant

The German authorities are discussing nationalizing the local subsidiary of Russian state-controlled energy major Rosneft, which has been under a trusteeship since 2022, the company said on Thursday.

The newspaper Handelsblatt reported, citing government sources, that a hearing that began on Monday marks the first step towards a formal expropriation procedure the government is seeking to carry out. 

According to the Russian oil giant’s law firm, Germany’s Economy Ministry informed Rosneft earlier this week that it was considering expropriating the stakes in the company’s German assets.

Rosneft Deutschland manages the company’s stakes in several German oil refineries. The assets include a 24% share in the country’s largest refinery in the city of Karlsruhe, a 28.57% share in BAYERNOIL Raffineriegesellschaft and a 54.17% stake in the PCK Raffinerie plant in Schwedt.

In 2022, in the wake of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, the German federal government took control of Rosneft’s assets in the country and placed them under a trusteeship. This even included the Schwedt refinery, where Rosneft is the majority shareholder. The Economy Ministry at the time expressed concern that operations at the Rosneft facilities were at risk because other companies intended to stop cooperating with them due to sanctions.

Berlin has extended the trusteeship twice, most recently in September 2023. The current trusteeship expires in March, meaning the government will need to make a decision about how to proceed. 

Rosneft’s attempts to challenge the assets being taken over have been dismissed by German courts. A law enacted by the Bundestag in April 2023 allows for the outright expropriation of Russian assets by the German government.

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