The energy company Alcmene is interested in taking over the PCK refinery in Schwedt, Brandenburg, which until now has been majority owned by the Russian state-owned company Rosneft and processes Russian oil. “We are ready to take over the PCK Schwedt refinery completely,” said Raul Riefler, Managing Director of the Alcmene Group, to the “Handelsblatt”. Alcmene belongs to the Estonian Liwathon Group, an oil terminal operator. The company could “start immediately to find a long-term solution for the continued existence of the refinery”.

The refinery in Schwedt has so far been supplied with Russian oil via the Druzhba pipeline. Because of the planned oil embargo against Russia, Economics Minister Robert Habeck is looking for alternative oil sources for the plant. According to Habeck, the Russian operator has little interest in the changeover.

Riefler went on to say: “We are probably the only ones with the technical resources to relocate loading devices to Schwedt within a few months, which would enable the PCK to be used to capacity in times of war and sanctions, if necessary, via rail traffic alone.”

According to “Handelsblatt”, the biofuel entrepreneur Claus Sauter, CEO of Verbio, is also interested in PCK. “We could demonstrate at the Schwedt refinery site how the transformation from fossil to renewable energies can be designed. Schwedt is ideal for this,” Sauter told the newspaper. “There are two production lines there. One of these two strands could initially continue to be used to refine fossil fuels. The second strand could be used to produce first and second generation biofuels.”

The call for state aid to maintain the PCK oil refinery in Schwedt is getting louder. The left-wing faction in the Brandenburg state parliament called attention to their demand for a guarantee for employment, wages and salaries for around 1,200 employees with an action on Monday in the Uckermark city. A total of one hundred posters were put up on five large areas in the city area. The left then demanded a “guarantee plan for Schwedt”.

“The people who have given us guarantees for 60 years that petrol will come out of the pump (…) and that the apartment won’t stay cold in winter” now also deserve guarantees such as job and wage security, said the left-wing Group leader Sebastian Walter of the German Press Agency. Declarations of intent and “warm words” from the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and the Prime Minister were not enough.

The left sees the region around Schwedt, but also Eisenhüttenstadt as the location of the Arcelor Mittal steel mill, in danger in view of the EU’s planned oil embargo against Russia and is demanding financial aid from the federal and state governments. In another campaign, every household in Schwedt will receive a postcard, which they can then send to the head of government in Brandenburg, Walter explained.

Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) and the state government are committed to maintaining the refinery. The AfD faction had called for the continued operation with Russian oil.

The prime ministers of the eastern German states discussed the energy supply situation with Habeck on Saturday. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s head of government, Manuela Schwesig (SPD), then announced that the federal and state governments were examining specific alternatives, for example deliveries of oil to Schwedt via Rostock and liquid gas via Lubmin.

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The PCK refinery is majority owned by the German subsidiary of the Russian Rosneft group and processes Russian oil from the Druzhba pipeline. Habeck wants to supply the plant with crude oil from other sources via Rostock and possibly Danzig, but this would not completely offset the output.

An oil embargo against Russia is being discussed at EU level, but has not yet been decided. Eastern Germany would be particularly affected because the two large refineries in Leuna and Schwedt have been processing Russian oil from the Druzhba pipeline.