Germany wants to be able to expropriate suppliers to ensure supplies

The targets are Russian giants Gazprom and Rosneft, which play key roles in storing and distributing energy in the country.

The federal government wants to create the legal opportunity to bring energy suppliers under its control, even to expropriate them.”to ensure security of supplyamid the conflict with Russia, according to a draft law consulted by AFP on Wednesday. “Russia’s illegal attack on Ukraine has exacerbated an already tense situation in energy markets“, the Ministry of Economics notes in the text.

To ensure the supply», the text creates «the possibility of a takeover” for companies of “critical infrastructure” and how “ultimate measure“, that “possibility of expropriation“. The text, without naming them, targets the numerous subsidiaries in Germany of the Russian giants Gazprom and Rosneft, which play a key role in the storage and distribution of oil and gas across the country. In addition, the government wants in certain cases Companies in receivership can force them to honor their energy supply contracts.

The law prepared by Robert Habeck’s ministry can still be modified before it is passed by the Council of Ministers and debated in Parliament. It is a reform of legislation introduced in 1975 at the time of the oil crisis. These measures must be in place if “worsening of the current situation», Explains a ministerial source. Germany fears being forced to ration gas supplies to industry.

The ability to ban companies “controlled by a third country”

The invasion of Ukraine has highlighted the country’s heavy reliance on gas imports from Russia, but also on essential infrastructure such as refineries, oil and gas pipelines owned by Russian capital. The law also provides for the possibility of banning certain companies”controlled by a third country» Component supply activities for energy infrastructures.

The government had already made the unprecedented decision in early April to place the German Gazprom subsidiary under state control. However, this was only possible due to an opaque financial transaction and the resulting lack of clarity about the company’s ownership structure. The country, which supplied more than 55% from Russia before the war, has already reduced this share to 40% and the steps to be found are multiplied by other suppliers.

With regard to the import of liquid gas, the governing coalition wants to accelerate the construction of LNG terminals in particular. With a view to the coming winter, a law passed in March now obliges gas suppliers to successively fill their tanks to 90 percent by December.

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