Russia is putting Germany's largest gas trader Uniper in a dangerous situation by reducing energy supplies. The company is majority owned by the Finnish state. This announces that the financial aid will be discontinued - and sees Berlin as responsible.
According to the government in Helsinki, the Finnish Fortum Group, majority owner of the ailing utility Uniper, should not pump any more money into the German gas importer. Finland wants to ensure that an agreement on Uniper does not lead to extra costs for its taxpayers, said Europe Minister Tytti Tuppurainen in Helsinki. She had already held talks with representatives of the federal government about rescuing Uniper. Fortum is majority owned by the Finnish state.
Germany's largest gas trader Uniper has to buy gas on the expensive spot market because of the supply cuts in Russia in order to meet its delivery obligations - and is thus making high losses. The Fortum subsidiary had asked the federal government for help and wanted a higher credit line from the state-owned development bank KfW. Fortum had stated that it had made around eight billion euros available to Uniper in the form of loans and guarantees since the beginning of the crisis.
Fortum boss Markus Rauramo had suggested that the “system-critical German parts of Uniper” related to the gas business be placed under the control of the German state. In German government circles, however, warnings had been given that the Finns would not cherry-pick. Talks about rescuing Uniper are ongoing. A quick solution is needed, Tuppurainen affirmed.
The Russian gas giant Gazprom asserted force majeure on Monday for the significantly reduced gas supplies to Uniper. Uniper has received a letter from Gazprom Export "in which the company is retrospectively asserting force majeure for the previous and current shortages in gas deliveries," the Düsseldorf-based group said. Gazprom Export is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Russian state-owned company.
According to the letter dated July 14, Gazprom cannot meet its contractual delivery obligations due to extraordinary circumstances. Uniper does not consider this to be justified and has formally rejected Gazprom's claim, the company said. In industry circles it was said that the letter concerned deliveries through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which are crucial for the Federal Republic.