For decades, crude oil flowed by pipeline from Russia to a large refinery in Schwartz. The industrial city on the banks of the Oder River in Germany employs thousands of workers and is a reliable source of petrol, jet fuel and heating oil for Berlin residents.
Now, EU member states are struggling to agree Terms of the oil ban To punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, the Schweitz refinery has become a major stumbling block in Germany’s efforts to sever its confidence in Russian oil. The opportunity has raised awareness among the 1,200 employees of the refinery.
Germany relies on Russia for a third of its oil.
In a video aimed at explaining the situation to the Germans, Mr. Hebeck said. Most of that Russian oil comes from a refinery in Schwartz.
This refinery is a symbol of how deeply Germany’s oil and gas needs are tied to its giant energy exporters in the East. The PCK refinery – whose East German roots are named after the state-owned “Petrochemicals Combined” or Petrochemical Combine – is owned by the Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft. It is connected to the Soviet-era Trushpa Pipeline, one of the longest in the world, bringing oil from Siberian wells to Western Europe.
It is an essential part of Germany’s energy needs, producing fuel for nearby areas, including Berlin and Poland, Germany’s largest cities. The availability of enough oil to replace the 12 million tons of crude oil that is processed each year in the northern squat through the German and Polish ports is only part of the mystery, as Rosneft has told German authorities that it does not want to run the refinery. – Russian oil.
To address that problem, the German parliament last week passed a law that would make it easier for the government to seize essential infrastructure under foreign ownership to prevent a national emergency. German officials said that if the oil embargo was lifted, the new law would allow Berlin to ensure the supply of sufficient oil supplies until another company could be found to acquire Rosneft’s shares.
Shell, Europe’s largest energy company, has a 37.5 percent stake in PCK, which recently said it supports the refinery, “even at the expense of economic losses to maintain supplies to the region.” Last year, Shell sought to sell its stake in the refinery and Rosneft moved to buy it, but it has not yet been approved by the German Ministry of Economy, which weighs in on the political and strategic aspects of foreign investment.
Another energy company, Alkmeen, Part of the Liwathon Group, a privately owned British energy holding company, has expressed interest in investing in Schwedt. “We can provide security and full utilization of the distribution of the PCK refinery through German ports without government subsidies,” Alcmene said in an email statement.
President Olaf Scholes has made it clear that he is aware of the concerns surrounding the refinery and that ensuring its future is a priority.
At a recent meeting of his party in the state of Brandenburg, he said, “We are watching very closely how this can really work.” “We are also going to make sure the employees are not left alone.”
Fears that the layoffs would be in a corner attracted hundreds of workers, many of whom wore PCK’s official fluorescent orange and wild green, earlier this month. They came to the company canteen for a town hall meeting with Hebeck.
Like other parts of former East Germany, Schwartz suffered widespread job losses after the collapse of Communism. Memories of 25 percent unemployment still haunt the region.
In addition, the refinery is not only a source of oil and revenue, it is also the center of the city’s identity. Equalized by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II, the arrival of the oil pipeline – its name, Trushpa, meaning friendly in Russian – and the refinery attracted thousands of workers and their families in the late 1960s, attracting safe jobs. PCK’s slogan: “We are moving Berlin and Brandenburg!”
Today, one-tenth of the city’s 30,000 people hold secure union jobs in refineries and ancillary industries. Many workers told Mr. They used the meeting with Hebek to question the government’s attitude.
“Why should we call a business partner who has been trusted and always provided for decades, ban and slap them?” One person who identified himself said he had worked at the refinery for 27 years.
“My wish is really to get rid of the Trushpa pipeline completely,” said another employee who identified herself as the mother of three young children. “There is no profitable alternative.”
Reporters Employees who spoke during the event were asked not to be identified. To protect their privacy.
Mr. Hebek tried to reassure the crowd that the refinery would continue to operate. “If everything works on paper,” crude oil from Norway or the Middle East could be shipped from the ports of Rostock and Kdansk in Poland, both of which are connected to the refinery by pipelines.
At the same time, he agreed, there were several points in the process of attacking a problem.
The PCK facility, like other refineries, is designed to process certain types of crude oil from Russia. The crude oil from other countries must be mixed with the oil in the tanks on the northwest coast of Germany to form a suitable mixture.
It would take a seven-day voyage by sea to get that reserve oil at the pipeline in Rostock, as no pipes had crossed the former border separating East and West Germany, and the country’s main railway freight director had almost no oil cars.
Another possible problem: the Polish government refuses to work with Russian companies and tells German officials that oil will not come from Gdansk as long as it is interested in the Rosneft refinery.
“We can’t be completely sure what we’re doing,” he said. Hebeck told cleaning staff. “But at least it was fully discussed and thought out.”
In the end, Mr. Hebek and local officials want to see the refinery abandon fossil fuels and focus on renewable energy. In recent years, PCK has invested in the development of hydrogen-based synthetic fuels. Verbio, which produces ethanol from local sources, operates on the site of the refinery and feeds bio-energy into the city’s heating system.
Officials in Berlin emphasized the economic appeal of the surrounding region, pointing to the newly completed Tesla assembly plant And Intel’s announcement a $ 19 billion chip manufacturing facility. Both companies were inspired by the sheer renewable energy, said Carsten Schneider, a spokesman for Chancellor Scholes in the East. He also spoke to residents of Schwartz, Germany.
“I assure them that the German government will not abandon them, but will work for a short-term solution to conserve oil elsewhere and for a long-term restructuring towards renewable energy production,” he said.
The mayor of the city, Annakathrin Hope, said he would like to set up a campus for start-ups, incubators and other energy innovators near the refinery to promote the transition to green energy production. But he said it would require “millions or billions.”
Although politicians from Berlin have focused more on his city, he said he has not yet seen any deadlines or firm promises or promises of financial assistance that people will be able to retain their jobs.
“It was a good start,” he said of the exciting visits of the past few weeks. “But that’s only a beginning.”
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