Germany nationalizes its largest natural gas importer

The German government will own about 99% of Uniper and 8% of the Finnish parent company Fortune (FOJCF)German Economy Minister Robert Habeck told journalists in Berlin on Wednesday.

Uniper supplies 40% of the country’s gas supply and is crucial for large companies and private consumers in Europe’s largest economy.

In July, Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced the government would step in to rescue Uniper with a package worth up to €15 billion ($15.3 billion), after it was brought to its knees by months of Russian austerity and rising spot market prices.

Under the bailout deal, the government pledged to provide €7.7 billion ($7.8 billion) to cover potential future losses, while state-owned bank KfW agreed to extend its €7 billion ($7.1 billion) credit facility. increase.

But Habeck said the situation had “deteriorated dramatically” since Russia indefinitely cut gas supply to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline on Sept. 1, citing an oil spill.

Russian gas had to be replaced by expensive alternatives, leading to skyrocketing bills for consumers.

Although gas deliveries via Nord Stream 1 have been suspended, Germany’s gas reserves are more than 90% filled, European storage provider GIE AGSI+ said on its website.

Yet the European energy crisis is not going away.

Habeck said the country could “get through the winter well” without Russian gas, but warned of “really depleted” supplies in the period after.

UK Business Grants Details

Germany is not alone in paying a very high price to remedy the gas shortages. Together, the EU countries and the United Kingdom have already pledged more than $500 billion in aid to households and businesses to help them cope with rising energy costs.

The British government gave further details on Wednesday about its plan to shield the economy over the coming winter. It said it would cut electricity and gas costs for businesses to less than half the market rate for an initial six-month period.

The announcement follows a commitment made earlier this month to limit the average household energy bill to £2,500 ($2,834) per year over the next two years.

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng said he would detail the total cost of the program on Friday.

Analysts have said the total bill could reach £150 billion ($170 billion). Along with tax cuts promised by new Prime Minister Liz Truss that could wipe out the UK government’s loans at a time when debt repayment costs soar and the pound is already trading at its 37-year low as investors worry about the fragile health of the UK economy.

— Anna Cooban contributed to this article.

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