The CEO of Uniper, Germany’s largest gas importer, has addressed the ongoing dispute between his company and Russian energy giant Gazprom. Speaking at a press conference following the release of Uniper’s earnings for the first half of the year, Michael Lewis provided an update on the arbitration proceedings launched against Gazprom Export last year.
Uniper claims damages from Gazprom due to undelivered gas supplies and expects a ruling on the dispute by next year. Lewis stated that Uniper does not anticipate Russian gas supplies to resume, stating, “At present, we really don’t see much possibility of Gazprom Export supplying gas again.”
Last November, Uniper filed a claim with the Arbitration Tribunal in Stockholm seeking €11.6 billion ($12.7 billion) in compensation from Gazprom Export for gas deliveries that were agreed upon but not fulfilled. As a result, Uniper was forced to purchase “replacement gas” from other suppliers at extremely high market prices.
Gazprom has denied the accusations of contract violation made by Uniper. In addition, the German government took control of Gazprom’s subsidiary and gas storage facilities last year, with Uniper assuming control of the facilities. However, Gazprom was never compensated for this takeover. The German authorities eventually nationalized Uniper due to the company’s losses resulting from the loss of Russian gas supplies.
The dispute between Uniper and Gazprom is taking place amidst a significant reduction in Russia’s natural gas deliveries to the EU since last year. The Nord Stream pipeline, which previously transported Russian gas to Germany, experienced technical and maintenance issues related to Western sanctions, leading to its shutdown in September. The pipeline also suffered damage from explosions in the same month, an incident that is still under investigation.
While the Nord Stream pipeline remains non-operational, Russia continues to supply certain buyers in the EU through a transit line in Ukraine and the TurkStream pipeline in Turkey.
The decrease in Russian gas supplies to Europe, as well as the ongoing standoff between Uniper and Gazprom, have significant implications for energy markets and the stability of the EU’s energy supply. As the arbitration proceedings continue and tensions persist, it remains to be seen how this dispute will be resolved and what the future holds for gas imports between Germany and Russia.
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