Fortum, which has owned a stake in Uniper, said Europe’s energy crisis escalated over the summer as Russia’s war in Ukraine dragged on and Moscow began to react to crippling sanctions. File Photo by Mauri Ratilainen/EPA-EFE
Sept. 21 (BP) — The German government on Wednesday entered into a new deal to nationalize its largest gas importer as a response to significant energy shortages ushered in by Russia’s military fight in Ukraine.
Germany said that it now owns a 99% stake in the gas importer, Uniper. Previously, it was controlled mostly by Finland-based energy company Fortum.
The move expands on the 30% stake the German government took in Uniper in July as part of a bailout deal. Berlin is buying close to $400 million in new shares to expand its stake.
“Under the current circumstances in the European energy markets and recognizing the severity of Uniper’s situation, the divestment of Uniper is the right step to take,” Fortum CEO Markus Rauramo said in a statement.
Fortum said Europe’s energy crisis escalated over the summer as Russia’s war in Ukraine dragged on and Moscow began to react to crippling sanctions. Russia has used its gas exports as leverage in the conflict and has been able to influence virtually the entire global gas market in one way or another.
“Uniper has accumulated close to [$8.43] billion in gas-related losses and cannot continue to fulfill its role as a critical provider of security of supply as a privately-owned company,” Fortum said in a statement.
“The newly found solution, therefore, involves German state control.”
Fortum said it’s absorbed significant losses recently in the form of negative fair value adjustments from Uniper, mainly due to “Russian gas curtailment.”
This month, the Russian government cut off gas supplies via the Nord Stream pipeline on an indefinite basis.