Germany wants to become completely independent of Russian oil by the end of the year. But can the refinery in Schwedt really be decoupled from deliveries from the “Druschba” pipeline?

The CDU politician Sepp Müller has doubts about the federal government’s plans to cut the supply of Russian oil to the PCK refinery in Schwedt.

It is questionable whether this can be enforced, said the East Commissioner and deputy head of the Union parliamentary group of the German Press Agency in Berlin.

“We are currently having a legal check as to whether the German government’s record of stopping the import of Russian pipeline oil is legally binding,” said Müller. “In my view, this only applies to the decision of the European Council to stop importing Russian tanker oil.”

EU leaders had decided to stop importing Russian oil by tanker. Imports via the “Druschba” line remain permitted under pressure from Hungary. However, Germany, together with Poland, had confirmed in the said protocol note that they would also refrain from using Russian oil from the “Druschba” by the end of the year – although the refinery in Schwedt has so far been dependent on it.

“Only” declaration of intent

Müller said that the federal government wanted to voluntarily go beyond the EU decision. “But if in doubt, a declaration of intent by way of a memorandum would not be a sufficient basis for nationalizing the PCK refinery in Schwedt, for example. Should the Russian operator Rosneft decide to process Russian oil from the Druzhba pipeline beyond the end of the year, how should the federal government stop it?”

So far, the East German refineries in Schwedt and Leuna have been supplied via the “Druschba”. The operator of Leuna is already looking for other suppliers. According to the federal government, the Russian state-owned company Rosneft has no interest in turning away from Russian oil for Schwedt. How things will continue for PCK is unclear.

In a guest article for “Zeit”, Müller had suggested that part of the refinery should be in the hands of the employees. “I think it’s finally time for the workers to participate in productive capital,” wrote the CDU deputy from Wittenberg (Saxony-Anhalt). At least 50 percent of the company should be transferred to the employees.