Since the planned embargo on Russian oil, politicians have been looking for alternatives for German refineries. In the Brandenburg town of Schwedt, new branches of production are to be sought, demands Economics Minister Habeck. The state government and the Eastern Commissioner believe that politicians underestimate the effects.
According to Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck, the PCK refinery in Schwedt needs new branches of production in addition to refining crude oil. There is currently a discussion about which bioeconomic or chemical processes could be located there, said the Green politician. The Brandenburg state government insists on written guarantees for the location.
It is still unclear exactly how things will continue there. Habeck said at the East German Economic Forum in Bad Saarow that the aim was to make "Schwedt Leuna". What is meant is the central German refinery in Saxony-Anhalt, which, like PCK in Schwedt, obtains Russian oil from the "Druschba" pipeline. As part of the EU embargo against Russia, the German government wants to refrain from importing oil via this pipeline. Alternatives are still being sought, especially for Schwedt.
A few weeks ago, about 80 percent of the oil deliveries in Leuna came from Norway, said Habeck. The location in Saxony-Anhalt freed itself from its dependency on Russian oil in good time. For Schwedt it has to go in the same direction. A federal-state working group was set up for this purpose. There is support from the federal government for new branches of production. Habeck underlined that in the future less refinery capacity would be required in Germany.
For the restructuring of PCK Schwedt, however, you also need an owner who will accompany you along the way. The current operator Rosneft is a Russian state-owned company that wants to make money for Russia. "I can't go any further at this point. But it's not trivial to solve that," admitted Habeck. A task force on the future of the PCK refinery in Schwedt has been meeting since the end of May. Habeck's Parliamentary State Secretary Michael Kellner is in charge. In an interview with the "B.Z." little concrete about the future of the refinery. It's also about "national security issues that can only be discussed in private."
In general, the Secretary of State reaffirmed Habeck's commitments to the location and security of supply. "There is no need to panic," said Kellner. "The supply is secured and we are doing everything to ensure that it stays that way." Kellner warned the state government in Brandenburg: "I expect that the Potsdam government will also support the federal government's Ukraine course."
Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke said at the weekend that if there are no guarantees for supplies, prices and jobs, "we have to talk about whether this embargo can come into force". State Minister of Economics Jörg Steinbach pressed the rbb24 info radio for written commitments from the federal government. Steinbach later said in Bad Saarow that there was a lot of goodwill. But the complexity is underestimated. The pressure to insist on something in writing is quite good. The Left East Commissioner Sören Pellmann accused Habeck of underestimating the consequences of the oil embargo. "The East is currently being left out in the rain," criticized the member of the Bundestag. "The embargo could become a huge driver of inflation and a brake on development for the East German economy." It holds social fuel.
Habeck, on the other hand, called for a clear commitment to the sanctions against Russia in the energy sector. "If we allow a war of aggression in Europe that violates international law to be successful, then we will also allow the next war," warned Habeck in Bad Saarow. "That's why the sanctions are justified," he stressed. Saying this has nothing to do with ignoring the interests of the East. He pointed out that many Eastern European states are pushing for a tough line in the face of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine.
Habeck acknowledged that there is still an East-West divide in Germany's energy structures. West German federal states would be supplied with oil primarily via seaports and then on via the Rhine and Elbe, while eastern German federal states would be supplied with oil from Russia via the Druzhba pipeline. In this respect, the impact of the EU oil embargo is stronger here. However, the opposite is true of the coal embargo against Russia, which hits western Germany harder. If gas supplies stopped, the south and southwest would have the biggest problems.