Germany has taken control of a major Russian-owned oil refinery. The European country took control of the oil refinery on Friday, risking retaliation from Russia.
The move comes amid Germany’s target to shore up energy supplies and meet its European Union commitment to eliminate Russian oil imports by the end of the year, Reuters reports.
The economy ministry said it was putting a unit of Russian oil firm Rosneft (ROSN.MM) under the trusteeship of the industry regulator and taking over the business’ Schwedt refinery, which supplies 90 percent of Berlin’s fuel.
Energy supplies from Russia were disrupted after Moscow invaded Ukraine and NATO countries hit Russia with sanctions.
The economy ministry in a statement said Rosneft’s German subsidiaries, which account for about 12 percent of oil refining capacity in the country, were placed under trusteeship of the Federal Network Agency.
“The trust management will counter the threat to the security of energy supply,” it said.
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“With the trusteeship, the threat to the security of energy supply is countered and an essential foundation stone is set for the preservation and future of the Schwedt site,” the ministry said in a statement.
Governments across Europe have been racing to prop up their power providers and secure fuel deliveries as they ratchet up sanctions on major supplier Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
Moscow has retaliated by reducing gas flows and has threatened to shut off all the taps, sending prices soaring and raising the prospect of energy rationing in Europe this winter.
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The German government aims to completely cut off imports from Russia by year’s end, which has caused the refineries’ operations to be disrupted.
The German authorities, by taking control of the sites, can run the refining operations using crude from countries other than Russia.