Berlin takes control of Gazprom Germania

The Berlin government has taken control of Gazprom Germania, the subsidiary of the Russian gas group which operates some of Germany’s largest natural gas storage facilities.

In a statement on Monday, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said the Bundesnetzagentur, Germany’s federal energy regulator, would become the temporary administrator of Gazprom Germania with the full powers of a shareholder. entity.

The ministry said it was forced to act because of the company’s “unclear legal relationship and its breaches of its reporting obligations under German foreign trade regulations”.

“Gazprom Germania GmbH operates critical infrastructure in Germany and is therefore of considerable importance for gas supply,” he said.

“The German government is doing everything necessary to safeguard Germany’s security of supply,” Habeck said, announcing the decision. “It also means that we will not expose Germany’s energy infrastructure to arbitrary decisions by the Kremlin.”

He said the decision to place Gazprom Germania under the supervision of the Bundesnetzagentur “served the aim of protecting public order and safety and maintaining security of supply”. The conservatorship will last until September 30, 2022.

The ministry acted after it emerged in recent days that Gazprom Germania had been taken over by two other companies, JSC Palmary and Gazprom Export Business Services LLC, the ministry said. Since the Gazprom subsidiary operates critical infrastructure in Germany, any acquisition by a non-EU investor had to be approved by the economy ministry, he added.

“It is unclear who stands behind the two named companies, in business and legal terms,” he said. The acquirers had also ordered the liquidation of Gazprom Germania, which was not legal because the acquisition had not been approved, he added.

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Alycia R. Lindley