Poland has reached an agreement with Germany to provide enough crude to Germany’s Schwedt refinery to run the plant at 70% capacity from January, which means that Germany would no longer be dependent on Russian oil.
The Schwedt refinery, seized from Russia in September, provides 90% of Berlin’s fuel. Germany has a goal of ending Russian oil imports by the end of the year and has been working with Poland for months to secure enough crude to meet the country’s demands.
Under the agreement, 2-3 ships each bringing 100,000 tonnes of crude a month, will travel from Gdansk, Poland, to Schwedt beginning next year. The agreement with Poland would provide approximately 3.5 million tonnes per year, with Rostock on the Baltic filling the remaining gap.
In September, Germany seized the Schwedt refinery, which belonged to Russian oil company Rosneft PJSC as Germany struggles to overhaul its economy and secure enough oil and LNG to prevent blackouts and shortages during the coming winter.
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A top lawmaker for Scholz’s Social Democrats told Bloomberg, “Over the next few months, we’ll have to continue to preserve critical infrastructure in order to achieve energy independence.”
At the time of the Schwedt seizure, Rosneft called the move illegal and equated it to the expropriation of equity assets. Rosneft had invested €4.6 billion into the facility’s refining capacity. The company issued a statement at the time saying that it would “consider all possible measures to protect its shareholders, including legal action.”
Rosneft Germany runs 3 refineries in the country and provides 12% of Germany’s refining capacity. The Schwedt refinery is the most important of the three as it provides fuel for the Berlin-Brandenburg area, and concerns had been mounting that the refinery would have to close and workers would be laid off.
The move to seize control of the Schwedt refinery was political and was done to keep the refinery online and workers employed. There had been a serious concern, though, about where the facility would get its crude from as it had been running on Russian oil. Poland finally came through to keep the refinery operational, and Germany no longer dependent on Russian crude.