BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) – The Russian petroleum company, Rosneft, is expanding its activities in Germany, thereby reducing Germany’s dependence on the transatlantic oil industry. While public discussion is focused on ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s candidacy for the chair of Rosneft’s board of directors, the company has increased its share to 25 percent of Germany’s crude oil imports, and has become the third largest oil processing enterprise in Germany. It has plans to further strengthen its position in the country, inspired by the close German-Russian natural gas cooperation, which provides Germany significant influence over Western Europe’s supply of Russian gas. Achieving predominant influence over the EU’s supply and a growing independence vis-à-vis the energy giants of the transatlantic era, facilitates Berlin’s pursuit of an independent German-EU global policy.
Russia’s Most Powerful Oil Company
During Vladimir Putin’s first presidential term, Rosneft – founded in 1993 – gained new importance, which has continued to grow ever since. During the 1990s, individual Russian oligarchs made immense business in the Russian oil sector. However, since the new millennium, the state-owned Rosneft has acquired a growing number of shares on the Russian oil market. It took over Oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s dismantled Yukos Company, and in 2012, acquired the Russian-British joint venture TNK-BP. Since then BP has a 19.5 percent share in Rosneft, which, in the meantime, has become Russia’s most powerful oil company. Today Rosneft is one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies. Under CEO Igor Sechin, a Putin affiliate, the company has been intensifying its international activities. The attempt to cooperate with ExxonMobil and its chairman, at the time, Rex Tillerson, failed due to the US sanctions against Russia. In December 2016, however, Rosneft sold 19.5 percent of its stakes to a consortium composed of Swiss trader Glencore and the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the Emirate’s state-owned holding company. Negotiations on the cooperation with CEFC China Energy are under way. Rosneft’s Board of Directors is multinational, with such members as BP President Robert Dudley and representatives of ExxonMobil, Glencore, and QIA.
Getting Ahead in Germany
Entering the Business of Gas Stations
Distribution Center for the EU
The development in the oil sector is thus running parallel to that of the natural gas sector. The two lines of the Nord Stream Pipeline and the expansion of two additional Nord Stream II lines, currently in planning, would assure Berlin a predominating position in the distribution of Russian gas to the EU’s western nations. The Nord Stream II is currently still highly controversial (german-foreign-policy.com reported ), but is being obstinately defended by the German government. At the operational level, former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has consistently promoted the implementation of both Nord Stream projects. At the same time, German energy companies have been given direct access to Russian gas reserves – a long-time objective in the German energy sector.
Independent Global Policy
If it now becomes possible to intensify German-Russian cooperation in the oil sector, this could weaken the influence of the transatlantic oil companies on Germany’s energy supply – in the interests of an independent German-European global policy. Schröder, as an eventual Rosneft CEO, would contribute to this objective in the oil, as much as he had contributed in the gas sector.