Energy 14 September, 2023 7:25 am   

Germany says no to Poland and wants Russians to stay at the Schwedt refinery. It also refuses tests on its tainted oil

PCK_Gelaende_Vogelperspektive Schwedt Refinery. Picture by PCK Raffinerie GmbH.

The German government has decided to extend the board of trustees over Rosneft’s shares in the Schwedt refinery. It also rejects the possibility of examining the origin of oil sold through the territory of Russia postulated by Poland. Poland maintains that it has requested that the provisions of the sanctions regulation be supplemented with specific requirements to certify the authenticity of the oil. Germany is opposed.

Berlin has decided to extend the board of trustees at the Schwedt refinery near the Polish border until March 10, 2024. The board allows the government to make decisions in Schwedt, but ownership remains in the hands of the Russians, who hold 54 percent of the shares in the facility through Rosneft Deutschland and Rosneft Refining and Marketing. Poland demanded derusification. There were ongoing talks about Poland’s Orlen acquiring shares in the plant.

The German Ministry of Economy and Climate believes that extending the trusteeship “will ensure security of supply”. Rosneft once controlled 12 percent of Germany’s oil and fuel supplies. In the past, Schwedt received 100 percent of its oil from Russia. Today it collects its supply via Poland’s LNG terminal and the Friendship oil pipeline from Russia.

This is a contentious issue with Poland. Warsaw is concerned that the oil, which is classified as coming from Kazakhstan is actually Russian. Nevertheless, Berlin will continue to import 100 thousand tons a month until the end of 2024. Germans blocked the possibility of monitoring the state of the affairs.

“Poland is not opposed to the import of Kazakh oil to Germany, stressing at the same time that the provisions of the sanctions regulation should be strictly observed,” Poland’s Climate Ministry explained in reply to “There should be no commodity swaps on oil under the guise of oil exports from Kazakhstan and its supplies to Germany. However, considering there is no major difference between the Kazakh oil supplied via Poland’s transmission system to Germany and Russian oil, the current unclear regime of imposing sanctions in our opinion insufficient and should be made more precise, especially when it comes to keeping the so-called “complete diligence”,” the Polish Ministry believes.

“The sanctions oblige entities involved in the import, trade or transfer of oil to ensure that every effort is made to confirm the country of origin of the oil. In view of the above, PERN, as the operator of the Polish section of the Friendship Oil Pipeline, must take all possible steps to ensure that the provisions of the regulation are implemented, i.e. confirmation of the source of oil,” explains the Ministry in a comment to “Any certificates or certificates of origin issued already at the stage of notification of the transfer, by the original supplier of the oil declared as KEBCO, and not by intermediaries, and confirming the authenticity of the origin of the oil, will be crucial. This can help to prevent the admission of Russian oil into the Polish system and thus the violation of sanctions. In this context, full and open cooperation between German contractors and PERN is necessary.

The European Union imposed sanctions on the supply of oil through the northern strand of the Friendship Oil Pipeline, excluding supplies from Kazakhstan. “The provisions of the sanctions regulation in its current form explicitly prohibit the import of oil from Russia. Also, taking into account the EC guidelines, in which the EC presents an understanding of the sanction rules, swaps are not allowed. Only technical mixing of non-Russian oil with Russian oil is taken into account, if the same infrastructure is used for their transportation,” the Ministry said. “It is worth recalling that Poland has proposed supplementing the provisions of the sanctions regulation with specific requirements certifying the authenticity of oil as coming from a third country, and only transported through the Russian pipeline system. Unfortunately, these proposals were rejected at negotiation stage 11 of the sanctions package. The Germans were against such provisions,” the Ministry explained. was the first to report on Poland’s objections to the supply of oil from Kazakhstan through Russia to Germany.

German Ministry of Economy / Ministry of Climate and Environment / Wojciech Jakóbik