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Gazprom Export versus Gazprom Germania

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Since the March issue, the topic of the month has been selfevident: German/European-Russian gas relations. Every month there are new developments that are of great importance for German and European gas supply. The problem is that this significance and the exact effects are often only partially apparent. This holds especially true for the whole issue of relations between Gazprom Export, Gazprom Germania (GPG) and now also the German government, or rather the BNetzA as trustee. In the last issue, I reported in detail on the bizarre developments and in this issue there is the follow-up. The Russian side has reacted to the order to hold GPG in trust and has issued a decree prohibiting Gazprom Export from doing business with the vast majority of companies of the GPG group. This raises more questions than it answers. In this month's issue, I try to find answers, although a not inconsiderable part of them are speculative. Read yourself.

In May, it became clear what storage reserves cost when the state demands them. Austria paid close to a billion euros for a strategic reserve of seven TWh working gas volume. In Germany, the first tender for Strategic Storage-Based Options costs 370 million euros. However, the two products are not comparable. In view of the current market situation, both procedures could probably have been dispensed. There are considerable incentives to inject gas into storages. The companies' options for action are restricted solely by the limited possibilities to finance this. In view of prices, volatilities and market risks, financing working capital has become a real bottleneck.

With regard to the making of this publication: it is often a work in progress. At the beginning of May, I spoke for the first time at the Flame (which was quite exciting overall, by the way) about the difficulty of integrating the Haidach storage facility into supply security concepts. During the month, further talks took place and there were publicly available developments. I have left the topic in the Market Rumours section, even though the share of rumours decreased over the month. 

Finally: I have been involved with the German gas market since the end of 1996. Nevertheless, I have consistently reported on the "Rheden" storage facility in this publication. However, that storage facility does not exist, but the "Rehden" storage facility does. And that is how it shall be in the future.

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TOPIC OF THE MONTH Gazprom Export versus Gazprom Germania

The next twist of the escalation spiral in German-Russian gas relations took place on 11 May, when a decree issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 3 May was made public. Russian organisations and companies were banned from doing business with 31 individually listed companies. 30 companies belong to the Gazprom Germania Group (GPG) – including the holding company itself. The only non-member of the GPG group on the list is Europol, the operator of the Polish section of the Yamal-North. Europol is a joint venture between the Polish state-owned gas company PGNiG (52 per cent) and Gazprom (48 per cent). There will be more about this later.

Also affected by the countersanctions are Wingas, Wintershall Erdgashandelshaus (WIEH) and astora. The only significant GPG company missing on the list was WIGA Transport Beteiligungs GmbH (WIGA). Gazprom Germania and Wintershall DEA each have a 50 per cent share in WIGA. The joint venture holds the stakes in the transmission system operators Gascade, OPAL Gastransport and NEL Gastransport...