German Parliament Approves Law to Speed Exit From Schwedt Refinery

Reuters, April 20, 2023

Germany's lower house of parliament on Thursday approved changes to the Energy Security Act that would allow a quick sale of Russian energy group Rosneft's stake in the Schwedt refinery without the need for prior nationalization.

Germany took control of the Schwedt refinery last year in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and put Rosneft Deutschland under a trusteeship of the German industry regulator. Rosneft still holds 54.17% of the refinery.

The changes would scrap the condition requiring prior nationalisation of assets put under government trusteeship if sale of the assets is needed to ensure that Germany's energy sector remains functional.

Such transfers had been only legally possible if they serve to preserve the value of the company.

Rosneft could not be reached out of business hours.

The amendments to the law passed with 382 votes in favour and 272 against.

Rosneft will review the compatibility of the law with constitutional, European and international law, Malmendier Legal, the law firm hired by Rosneft said.

"The so-called transfer of assets is nothing other else than an expropriation," lawyer Bertrand Malmendier told Reuters.

Other shareholders in the refinery, which supplies 90% of the German capital Berlin's fuel, include oil majors Shell (SHEL.L), with a 37.5% stake, and Eni (ENI.MI), with 8.33%.

This week Rosneft took legal action against Berlin's extension of the trusteeship and applied for compensation for the financial losses it suffered during the first six months of the order.

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa and Christian Kraemer; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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