Wintershall Dea is looking for a way to sue Moscow after the Kremlin expropriated the German company’s business in Russia and wiped €2 billion from its accounts.
The energy group last month became one of the latest Western oil and gas producers to announce its exit from Russia following the country’s attack on Ukraine, admitting it had lost control of its wells and the country. bank accounts she shared with her joint venture partner Gazprom.
Chief executive Mario Mehren said on Thursday that Wintershall – one of the main European investors in the suspended Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany – was now investigating “legal claims we might have against the Russian state or others”.
He added that the company “will try everything possible. . . and will do so without much notice”.
Wintershallwhich is majority-owned by BASF, revealed on Thursday that it swung into a net loss of 4.8 billion euros in 2022 despite a year of record high gas prices due to a 7 billion euro non-cash impairment related to the loss of the Russian business.
However, Mehren was confident the company would remain “strong and stable” and spoke of plans to expand its business in Mexico, Norway and North Africa.
CFO Paul Smith said Wintershall “hoped at the end of the war and after restrictions were lifted that the cash raised from its continuing operations in Russia would be ‘distributed back’ to shareholders, but that this is not a ‘no’.” a longer case”.
Mehren said Wintershall also hoped to recoup some of its losses in Russia under the German government’s federal investment guarantee, which some analysts said could be worth 2 billion to 2.5 billion euros.
The CEO, who was still advocating closer ties with Russia days before the invasion of Ukraine, declined to comment on whether Wintershall might try to sell its Russian business to the country’s government or Gazprom.
“At this time, we are not releasing details of our plans as to exactly how we will implement our exit from Russia,” he said.
The company, which rights groups alleged supplied Gazprom with products that can be used to make fuel for Russian military aircraft, said it wanted to complete its exit this year.
However, Mehren warned that “how long it ends up taking will not only depend on us, it will also depend on others”.