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German expert backs nationalizing Gazprom Germania amid sanctions struggle

The expert considers nationalization to be "the best way of enhancing market security"

BERLIN, May 13. /TASS/. Fabian Huneke, a gas market expert from the consulting firm Energy Brainpool, favors nationalizing the former subsidiary of Russia’s gas producer, Gazprom Germania GmbH, and its affiliates, including Wingas, amid sanctions imposed by Moscow against Western companies, the DPA news agency reported on Friday.

"Expropriation would be the preferred method for Wingas’ trading partners, for example, to continue receiving services," the gas guru said. He added though that after the suspension of Russian gas supplies, the trading companies of Gazprom Germania faced the danger of insolvency, which is why he believes state guarantees are necessary. "This will prevent problems from arising in many other countries due to the domino effect.

The expert considers nationalization to be "the best way of enhancing market security." That said, it was noted that among other things, Wingas provides housing services. Earlier, Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck provided a message about supporting Gazprom Germania, pledging financial guarantees, though he did not mention nationalization.

On Thursday, the Bundestag (German parliament) overwhelmingly approved amendments to the law on energy security, which suggest that in the event of a severe crisis, the authorities will obtain the right to place energy companies under temporary management and even nationalize them in an urgent case. According to the document, the Economy Ministry may place a firm operating any critical energy infrastructure under external control in the event of a particular danger that without it an enterprise would not be able to fulfill its tasks to ensure activities in the energy sector. Nationalization is possible if external control is insufficient either to guarantee energy security, though such a case would be an extreme measure.

Earlier, the German Economy and Climate Action Ministry placed Gazprom Germania GmbH under the management of the Federal grid agency (Bundesnetzagentur) until September 30.

On Wednesday, the Russian government greenlighted a list of legal entities subject to retaliatory sanctions. In particular, the blacklist includes Gazprom Germania GmbH, Gazprom Schweiz AG, Gazprom Marketing & Trading USA Inc, Vemex, Wingas, EuRoPol GAZ. On March 31, 2022, Gazprom Group divested from the German company Gazprom Germania Gmbh and all its assets, including Gazprom Marketing & Trading Ltd. The holding no longer owns the St. Petersburg-registered subsidiary Gazprom Export Business Services, which in turn is the sole founder of Gazprom Germania GmbH. The Russian holding said that those companies should stop using Gazprom's trademarks.