An import ban on Russian oil is to begin early next year. The PCK refinery in Schwedt, Brandenburg, is currently still processing crude oil from Russia.

Brandenburg’s Minister-President Dietmar Woidke still sees obstacles to the desired security of supply in the event of an oil embargo against Russia.

The Federal Government and the Prime Ministers’ Conference agree that “energy security must be guaranteed in all parts of Germany at all times,” said the SPD politician to the German Press Agency. “That’s the big challenge facing the federal level – especially now in the area of ​​fuel supply with the oil embargo, which is supposed to come into force at the beginning of next year. There’s still a lot of work to be done.”

Because of the war in Ukraine, the EU heads of state and government had agreed that the EU would no longer import tanker oil. Crude oil can therefore flow via pipelines, but the federal government also wants to end this import. This particularly affects the PCK refinery in Schwedt in Brandenburg, which is attached to the “Druschba” (“Friendship”) pipeline. It is majority owned by a German subsidiary of the Russian state-owned company Rosneft. Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) is targeting alternative oil deliveries via Rostock and Gdansk, which would not compensate for the full performance of the refinery. According to the PCK, 90 percent of the cars in Berlin and Brandenburg run on fuel from Schwedt.

“We can have a certain optimism”

The head of government of Brandenburg left open whether the consequences of the planned import ban can be cushioned in time. “I don’t know if it’s feasible, that remains to be seen,” said Woidke. “I think we can have a certain optimism, but we shouldn’t trivialize problems either.” He reiterated his demands for an import stop: “We need security that everything will go well afterwards for the whole of Brandenburg in terms of fuel supply, for the people who work in the PCK today and for the entire region,” said Woidke. “I have offered to continue to support this work.”

Parliamentary Economics Secretary Michael Kellner (Greens), who heads a federal-state working group on the future of the refinery, ruled out exceptions for Schwedt. However, he promised to do everything to ensure security of supply for all of East Germany. There is uncertainty about the jobs among the approximately 1,200 employees. Habeck wants to preserve and convert the site so that hydrogen can be used there, for example.