The German regulator takes over Gazprom Germany to guarantee energy supply

The German regulator takes over Gazprom Germany to guarantee energy supply

The German regulator takes over Gazprom Germany to guarantee energy supply

The Gazprom company logo is visible on the facade of a business center in St. Petersburg, Russia, March 31, 2022. PHOTOGRAPHER REUTERS / REUTERS

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FRANKFURT, April 4 (Reuters) – Gazprom Germany, an energy trading, storage and transmission company abandoned on Friday by Russia’s Gazprom (GAZP.MM), will be transferred to the German regulator to ensure energy security, it said on Monday. Economy Minister Robert Habeck.

All voting rights in the company will be transferred to the regulatory authority, the Bundesnetzagentur, Habeck said at a news conference. The move was immediately implemented through publication in the Federal Gazette.

“The order of the trusteeship serves to protect public security and order and to maintain security of supply,” said Habeck. “This step is mandatory.”

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Habeck added that security of supply has currently been ensured at a time of crisis in energy ties between Germany and Russia in the wake of the February 24 Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Bundesnetzagentur will take control until 30 September 2022. It will have the right to remove executives, hire new staff and ask management how to proceed.

“Our goal will be to manage Gazprom Germany in the interests of Germany and Europe,” said Klaus Mueller, head of the Bundesnetzagentur.

The economy ministry said the move was to avoid the possible takeover of Gazprom Germany by Russian JSC Palmary and Gazprom export business services LLC.

It was unclear who was behind the companies, the ministry said, implying that a takeover was not legally allowed as the investors were from outside the EU and were about to operate critical infrastructure.

“We will not leave the energy infrastructure subject to arbitrary decisions by the Kremlin,” Habeck said.

Gazprom has not provided details or explanations regarding its decision to discontinue its stake in Gazprom Germany and all of its operations, which include subsidiaries in the UK, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. Read more

Gazprom has been in the crosshairs of EU regulators for months over allegations, which it denied, of withholding gas that could have been released to lower rising prices.

Sources said last week that its offices in Germany had been raided by EU antitrust authorities. to know more

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner on Monday rejected the EU embargo on Russian gas imports as rising civilian deaths in Ukraine increase pressure on the blockade to impose sanctions on the Russian energy sector. to know more

“We are facing a criminal war,” Lindner said ahead of talks with his EU colleagues in Brussels. “It is clear that we must end all economic ties with Russia as soon as possible. We must plan tough sanctions, but gas cannot be replaced in the short term. We would inflict more damage on ourselves than on them.”

Habeck said earlier Monday that he was seeking to reduce Russia’s indirect economic influence on other parts of the energy sector, saying the next target was the offer of Russian oil incumbent Rosneft (ROSN.MM) to control. the German refinery PCK Schwedt.

Gazprom Germany’s intertwined network of units includes trader Wingas and storage company Astora which operates 6 billion cubic meters of underground gas caves in Germany and Austria.

British arm Gazprom Marketing & Trading supplies fuel to consumers, including farmers, restaurants and the NHS which has caused a lot of concern in Britain and the pressure would have been exerted by those companies under the German move.

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Reporting by Vera Eckert and Joseph Nasr; additional reportage by Kate Holton in London, edited by Maria Sheahan and David Evans

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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