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Russia’s Rosneft Moves to Sell its German Refinery Assets

Russia’s state-controlled oil giant Rosneft has launched a sales process seeking to divest its German assets, which include a majority stake in a major refinery that is currently under German trusteeship, a spokesperson for Germany’s economy ministry told Bloomberg on Friday.

In September 2022, a few months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Germany put the local business of Russia’s Rosneft under trusteeship, handing control over the Schwedt refinery to the country’s energy market regulator.  

“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 German government said at the time.

Schwedt is the fourth-largest refinery in Germany, it is 54% owned by the Russian state oil giant, and it gets its oil from the Druzhba oil pipeline from Russia. The Schwedt refinery supplies 90% of the fuel needs of Germany’s capital city Berlin.  

The trusteeship of Rosneft’s assets has been extended twice for a period of six months, and the current six-month period of trusteeship expires on March 10, 2024.

“Rosneft Russia has now stated that it has started a sales process and wants to finalize this during the period of a further trusteeship extension,” the spokesperson of the economy ministry said in a statement carried by Bloomberg.

“We will announce any decisions in good time, including a possible extension of the trusteeship,” the spokesperson added.

Last month, government sources told Reuters that Germany was considering a nationalization of Rosneft’s German assets, including the stake in the Schwedt refinery.

However, today’s comments could suggest that a nationalization was not a preferred option.

According to the economy ministry’s spokesperson, the primary goal of Germany in these affairs is to secure energy supply and especially the continued operations at the Schwedt oil refinery.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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