Subsidiaries of the giants Gazprom and Rosneft play a major role in Germany’s energy infrastructure (AFP/John McDougall)
Germany, due to its dependence on Russian gas, has discovered another Achilles heel: the heft of Russian capital in oil refineries, pipelines and other gas reservoirs.
Subsidiaries of the giants Gazprom and Rosneft are major players in the country’s energy infrastructure.
German political and economic leaders find themselves “in the rubble” of cooperation with Russia that has long been seen as the guarantor of détente with Vladimir Putin’s regime, Spiegel magazine reported.
“They must face the facts, the weekly continues: They appealed not to agents of change within Russia, but perhaps to the Trojans of the Kremlin.”
At the beginning of April, the German government made an unprecedented decision: to temporarily take control of the German subsidiary of Gazprom, a drastic measure justified by an ambiguous transfer of ownership of the company.
The Minister of Economy invoked issues of “public order and national security.”
Russia’s gas imports by EU countries in 2020, in terajoules (AFP /)
And for good reason: the Rehden (Northwest) reservoir, owned by Gazprom, in Lower Saxony accounts for about 20% of Germany’s total gas storage capacity.
With a capacity of 4 billion cubic meters of gas, it is presented as the largest in Europe. Belonging to the German BASF group until 2015, it was sold to Astora, a subsidiary of Gazprom
The Russian group is suspected of deliberately keeping its warehouses low during the summer before the invasion of Ukraine. Ridin tank is only 0.5% full.
Astora has more storage facilities in Jemgum, on the border with the Netherlands, and in Haidach, Austria.
Gazprom Germany also owns a stake in a large storage facility in a salt cave, not far from Hamburg.
Gascade, one of Germany’s largest gas distribution network operators, is 50.03% owned by Gazprom-Germania.
Gas receiving station from operator Gascade, in September 2021 in Lubmin, northeastern Germany (AFP/John MACDOUGALL)
The company describes its 3,200 km network of gas pipelines as the “European Natural Gas Transport Hub”. Its tubes, called Eugal, Midal, Stegal or Weda, transport raw materials to German capitals.
On its website, the company claims that it acts independently: “The transportation activity of the Gascade is not subject to the influence of the Gazprom Group or any other shareholder.”
Other important links such as the North European NEL gas pipeline and the Opal gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea are owned by Wiga Transport, in which Gazprom Germany holds a 49.98% stake.
The rest of the Jaskid and Wiga Transport companies are owned by Germany’s Wintershall Dea – a third party owned by Russian oligarch Mikhail Friedman, who is now under Western sanctions.
With a market share of around 20%, Wingas, a 100% subsidiary of Gazprom-Germania, plays a leading role in gas distribution, particularly to German municipal utilities, industrial companies and power plants.
The German state is scheduled to supervise the subsidiaries of Gazprom until September 30. During this period, the government will have to choose between nationalization and sale to a new owner.
Rosneft Germany, a subsidiary of the Russian oil giant, claims to supply a quarter of Germany’s total crude oil imports.
BCK Refinery in Schwedt, East Berlin, April 2, 2022 (AFP/John McDougall)
The company is the largest owner of the PCK refinery in Schwedt, east Berlin. This site can process about 11.6 million tons of crude oil annually, which is about 11% of Germany’s total oil consumption.
Rosneft wants to buy the 37.5% stake owned by Anglo-Dutch group Shell in the refinery, increasing its stake to 92%.
The Federal Bureau of the Cartel approved this deal a few days before the outbreak of the war. The Ministry of Economy is currently studying whether the purchase can still be stopped.
Rosneft Germany also owns a 24% and approximately 29% stake in major Miro and Bayernoil refineries in southern Germany.
Like Gazprom in the gas sector, Rosneft is also one of the largest oil distribution and logistics companies. According to the daily Handelsblatt, the group companies supply 4,000 major customers in Germany.