The sanctions threatened by the USA over the controversial Baltic Sea gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 could lead to bottlenecks in the supply of petrol and aviation fuel in Germany. One of the largest oil refineries in Germany, the PCK located in Schwedt, warned that in that case it could be forced to cease operations or at least throttle them.
Especially East Germany and the capital Berlin with its airports would probably have to expect supply bottlenecks. The refinery is majority owned by the Russian energy multinational Rosneft, which would be affected by possible sanctions.
A well-known US company, which has been planning and building the plant's plant headquarters and is waiting for the equipment, has told Rosneft that it will cease its services should the US sanctions actually come into effect in the coming weeks. The refinery, which produces enough fuel every day to refuel 250,000 cars, 60,000 trucks or 50 aircraft, would then become unmanageable. "A secure supply of the surrounding area including the airports in Berlin would be impossible," said a Rosneft spokesman.
Nord Stream 2 should actually be ready by the end of the year. Behind the project is the Russian state-owned Gazprom, which will shoulder half of the planned total cost of 9.5 billion euros. The other half are being financed by five European energy companies: the BASF subsidiary Wintershall, OMV as well as Uniper, Royal Dutch Shell and the French company Engie. The authorities in Russia, Finland, Sweden, Germany and Denmark have approved the project.
Banks have consequences even before sanctions
However, Nord Stream 2 is criticized by the US, as well as some Eastern European and Baltic states. They fear that the gas pipeline could increase the dependence of Central Europe on Russian energy. The US is also trying to sell its LPG LNG in Europe. US President Donald Trump had announced plans to review sanctions for Nord Stream 2. Meanwhile, a bill has been formulated that could be passed by the US Senate.
Although the sanctions have not yet come into effect, the PCK is already feeling the effects of US threats. For example, major German banks have announced that they will no longer be able to extend Rosneft's credit lines for fear of possible consequences. Companies like Siemens apparently do not want to take on any further service contracts for the refinery. At SPIEGEL's request, none of the companies wanted to comment specifically on the transactions. Rosneft also brought the danger situation to the attention of the Federal Government via the Eastern Committee of German Business.
This topic comes from the new SPIEGEL magazine – available at the kiosk from Saturday morning
and every Friday at SPIEGEL +
as well as in the digital issue.
What is in the new SPIEGEL and what stories you find at SPIEGEL +, you will also learn in our free policy newsletter DIE LAGE, which appears six times a week – compact, analytical, opinionated, written by the political minds of the editorial staff.