Saturday, May 7, 2022

All clear for crude oil – Habeck: This refinery is causing us problems

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Robert Habeck consulted with the Polish government on reducing Russian energy imports. In a short video, the Economics Minister explains the current state of affairs – and where there are still problems.

Two months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Germany is practically independent of Russian hard coal. Economics Minister Robert Habeck (The Greens) explained this in a video distributed on Twitter after consultations with the Polish government in Warsaw.

At the same time, the share of Russian natural gas has fallen from 55 percent last year to 35 percent now. “In the case of gas, we are working flat out to build a new infrastructure to bring liquefied gas to Germany so that we are no longer dependent on Russian pipeline gas,” said Habeck. “It’ll take a little longer, but we’re making good progress.” Here you can see the full video of the Economy Minister:

When it comes to crude oil, Germany has reduced its dependency on Russian imports from 35 percent to 12 percent. “These crude oil imports that go through the ports are comparatively easy to replace,” says Habeck. “You just have to find new suppliers and replace the contracts. Companies have largely done that now.”

Habeck still sees problems with the further reduction of oil imports from Russia at the refinery in Schwedt, Brandenburg. “It’s run by Rosneft, a Russian state-owned company and of course they have no interest in refining non-Russian oil,” said Habeck. “When I call to ask what you want to do to become independent of Russian oil, they don’t even pick up the phone.”

According to Habeck, the solution to this problem could be to supply the refinery in Schwedt via the port of Rostock and crude oil deliveries from Poland. But that only applies if Rosneft is no longer the operator of the refinery, since Poland does not want to supply any oil in order to “keep Rosneft alive”. With a certain transition period to organize ships that bring oil to Rostock, Germany could handle an oil embargo against Russia, Habeck said: “That’s a completely different announcement than I could have made two months ago.”

In a later statement, Habeck condemned the halt in the supply of Russian gas to Poland and Bulgaria on Wednesday. According to Habeck, “energy was used as a weapon” here. One must not be defenseless when this happens. “A demolition of gas supplies at this point in time would drive the German economy into a recession.” Forecasts predicted a shrinkage of 0.5 to 6.5 percent in this case.

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