Germany’s announced waiver of Russian pipeline oil for the Schwedt refinery has raised concerns in Brandenburg about potential supply shortages.
The SPD in the state parliament made demands. “The first important target that must be reached is that (…) security of supply must be guaranteed for all of East Germany – even without jerks,” said SPD parliamentary group leader Daniel Keller on Tuesday, looking at Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) , who warned a few weeks ago of price jumps and delays in the changeover. Keller demanded that the goal must also be 100% utilization of the refinery in Schwedt.
The EU heads of state and government had agreed on a partial embargo on Russian oil because of the Ukraine war. The EU should no longer import tanker oil, but crude oil can still be imported via pipelines. This is a concession to Hungary. Nevertheless, Germany has declared that it will also stop importing pipeline oil.
This particularly affects the PCK refinery in Schwedt, which is connected to the “Druschba” (“Friendship”) pipeline. In the case of alternative deliveries via the ports of Rostock and Gdansk, which Federal Minister of Economics Habeck is planning, the refinery could only continue to work with 60 to 70 percent of the previous output according to previous information – that is controversial.
The CDU parliamentary group leader, Jan Redmann, said the big question was whether it would be possible to fully utilize the refinery with oil from Rostock and Gdansk. A utilization at 70 percent of the previous performance would not be economical, said Redmann. “That would be something that would not be sustainable in the long term.” However, he still thinks it is necessary to become independent of Russian oil “as soon as possible”.
A federal-state working group headed by State Secretary for Economic Affairs Michael Kellner (Greens) has been advising on the future of the refinery since Monday. The federal government and Brandenburg want to maintain the site in the long term, for example by using hydrogen there. Keller criticized the fact that Habeck is not part of the federal-state working group. “He has his word with the employees in Schwedt/Oder.” The SPD and CDU said the task force was coming late or too late.
The Green faction is pushing for a secure supply and at the same time backed Habeck. “From our point of view, 100 percent is not the decisive point. The decisive point is that security of supply and jobs are largely secured and that we open a path for the further development of the pipeline,” said parliamentary group leader Benjamin Raschke.
Criticism of the embargo came from the opposition. “As long as the supply is not guaranteed in all areas, you must not get out,” said AfD faction leader Hans-Christoph Berndt. “We must not harm ourselves with sanctions.”