Germany May Nationalize Its Biggest Gas Importer
Germany is on the way to nationalizing its biggest gas importer, Uniper. Reports said the German government may increase its stake in Uniper SE above 50% and is open to taking the historic step of fully nationalizing the country’s biggest gas importer to prevent a collapse of the energy system.
Uniper, which happens to be the biggest purchaser of Russian gas, has been hit by 12 billion-euro loss in first half of this year.
In a statement yesterday, the company confirmed that it is transferring a bigger stake of the troubled utility to the government.
“The parties are looking into alternative solutions, inter alia a straight equity increase that would result in a significant majority participation by the German Government,” Uniper’s statement read.
In July, German and Uniper agreed on a $15 billion bailout package to help the energy giant, which has been reeling from reduced Russian gas supply and soaring prices of non-Russian gas. Under the package, the German government bought a 30% stake in Uniper and made available further capital to help the company.
Russia shut down the key pipeline to Germany, Nord Stream, earlier this month, blaming the Western sanctions for the closure of the pipeline and saying that the gas export route wouldn’t reopen until sanctions impeding gas turbine maintenance in the West are lifted.
Since the July bailout of Uniper, losses at the German energy company have continued to mount as the energy crisis in Germany and Europe has worsened.
Last month, Uniper reported first-half 2022 losses of some $12.5 billion, with losses incurred due to the necessity of buying natural gas on the spot market as Russia cut flows to Germany.
Uniper’s parent firm, Finland-based Fortum put out a statement on Wednesday in which it said that since the July bailout, “the parties’ joint priority has been the implementation of the stabilisation measures and a long-term solution for Uniper.
“Due to the increased uncertainties in the operating environment, the parties are also looking into alternative solutions.
“No decisions beyond what was agreed in the stabilisation package in July have been made,” Fortum said.
“Since July, Uniper’s financial losses due to the higher gas procurement cost and the uncertainty around the company’s future have rapidly and significantly increased. The deteriorating operating environment and Uniper’s financial situation have to be taken into account while Fortum, the German government and Uniper continue their discussions on a long-term solution for Uniper. “