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15 Nov 2022, 13:15
Carolina Kyllmann

Germany nationalises former Gazprom subsidiary in bid to secure gas supply

Gas

Clean Energy Wire / Tagesspiegel Background

The German government has nationalised energy company Securing Energy for Europe GmbH (SEFE), formerly Gazprom Germania, in a bid to secure gas supply to the country, the economy ministry announced. SEFE, which according to the European Commission has a 14 percent share of Germany’s gas supply market and owns and operates 28 percent of gas storage capacity in the country, was under threat of insolvency following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent interruption of gas supplies. Formerly belonging to Russian state-owned group Gazprom, SEFE had been under federal trusteeship since April. The move comes after Germany nationalised Uniper, formerly the country’s largest Russian gas importer.

The new ownership “will allow Germany to look for new gas suppliers while ensuring security of supply,” said European Commission vice-president Margrethe Vestager, who is responsible for competition policy. The Commission approved the move over the weekend. The government had already granted the energy company an 11.8 billion euro loan, which is to be raised to 13.8 billion euros to compensate for the scrapping of the gas levy scheme, the economy ministry said. State aid for SEFE is to come out of the 200 billion euro Economic Stabilisation Fund aimed at protecting households and businesses from soaring energy prices.

Poland has also announced it will take over gas infrastructure originally owned by Russia. Polish development minister Waldemar Buda said the country would place Europol Gaz, another Gazprom subsidiary which holds shares in the operator of the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline, under forced administration, according to dpa in an article carried by Tagesspiegel Background. Buda said the move would “ensure the security of [Poland's] critical infrastructure,” the paper reported.

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