Germany is in advanced talks to nationalise Uniper and two other large gas importers “in a historic step” to avoid a collapse of its energy market, according to people familiar with the matter, reports Bloomberg. State ownership of Uniper, VNG and Securing Energy for Europe (SEFE), formerly Gazprom Germania, “is the main solution under discussion”, notes the outlet. It says the government is considering buying from Finnish Fortum a controlling stake in Uniper “for a nominal price”. The news reminds that due to Russia’s cut-off of the main pipeline to Germany, Uniper losses of as much as €100m a day, according to its CEO. Asked about nationalisation plans, German economy minister Robert Habeck is quoted as saying: “Things are complex, we are working it through very carefully”. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
adds that as a part of Uniper’s rescue operation, only 30% of federal participation was initially agreed upon. It also notes that VNG covers a fifth of the gas requirements in Germany and supplies 400 municipal utilities and industrial customers. However, unlike Uniper, only a minority stake by the federal government is being discussed for VNG, says the article. Die Welt
reports that the German government also placed the Russian majority owner of the Schwedt oil refinery, Rosneft, and RN Refining & Marketing under the trusteeship of the Federal Network Agency initially limited to six months. This was announced by the Federal ministry of economics on Friday morning in Berlin, notes the outlet. The background is the oil embargo against Russia because of the Ukraine war, which will take effect on 1 January 2023, explains the story. The Guardian
carries a story about the possible consequences of gas rationing at Germany’s chemical firm BASF. Elsewhere, the Financial Times
reports that “the German government has taken control of three refineries owned by Russian oil company Rosneft, the latest in a flurry of measures to deal with the energy crisis triggered by the invasion of Ukraine”.
Meanwhile, the German government has announced a €3bn subsidy scheme put in place until 2026 that will support the construction of district heating grids that use at least 75% renewable energy, reports EurActiv
. It explains that “district heating, where pipes are laid from a central heating facility to individual houses, is more efficient than households heating themselves”. Robert Habeck is quoted as assuring that “heat grids are the key if we want to make heating greenhouse gas neutral. They tap into climate-friendly heat sources that cannot be used by decentralised heating systems in the home – including deep geothermal energy.”
reports that Germany’s “Porsche-driving” finance minister Christian Lindner “is frantically lobbying to keep e-fuels in the mix past 2035”. He told Politico that German chancellor Olaf Scholz “had reached a backroom deal with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in June to ensure that the use of synthetic fuels, or e-fuels, would be permitted under fresh EU fuel efficiency standards that will introduce a zero emissions mandate for new car and vans sales by 2035”. However, the Commission declined to comment, the article notes.
Finally, the Wall Street Journal
reports that electric car manufacturer Tesla has stopped the construction project for a battery factory in Germany for the time being because the company wants to examine the effects of the new US law, which promotes domestic battery production. President Joe Biden’s government is planning tax credits of €7,500 for US citizens who buy US-made electric vehicles with a US-made battery, explains the outlet.