The German oil and gas company Wintershall Dea has announced its intention to leave Russia. This is stated in the press release of the organization. The loss from the write-off of Russian assets will amount to €5.3 billion.
“In recent months, restrictions imposed by the Russian government on the activities of Western companies in the country and external interference in the activities of our joint ventures have made it impossible for Wintershall Dea to operate in Russia as before,” said the company's chief executive Mario Mehren. He also condemned Russia's aggressive war in Ukraine and said it was incompatible with European values.
On December 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree introducing state regulation of the cost of products and services of Gazprom's joint ventures with Germany's Wintershall Dea and Austria's OMV. The Russian government has set marginal rates for these goods and services. Prices and tariffs are introduced retroactively from March 1, 2022 and apply until October 1, 2023.
Earlier, the German publication Der Spiegel, together with the Frontal project of the ZDF television channel, published an investigation stating that Wintershall Dea earned hundreds of millions of euros by extracting kerosene components in Siberia for refueling Russian military aircraft that shelled Ukrainian cities, in particular Mariupol. The company itself denied this information.
A significant part of the profit that was not blocked in Russian accounts due to sanctions is transferred to the treasury of the chemical concern BASF, the main shareholder of Wintershall. According to investigators, the chemical group of companies owns 72.7% of Wintershall shares. The rest is owned by the investment firm LetterOne, which is closely associated with Russian oligarchs Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven.
After the publication of the investigation, the German government began to negotiate with the company about these allegations. What exactly was discussed is not reported.
Wintershall Dea was one of the investors in the Nord Stream 2 project; it invested almost a billion euros in it. After the start of Russia's military invasion of Ukraine and the imposition of European and American sanctions, the company refused to further finance the project.