Oil and gas: the Bundestag passes a law on the possible expropriation of energy companies

a job Oil and gas supplies

The Bundestag passes a law on the possible expropriation of energy companies

Germany ready for Russian energy sanctions

According to Federal Economy Minister Robert Habeck, Germany is ready for the sanctions announced by Russia in the energy sector. “We have prepared ourselves,” he said in the Bundestag. The market can compensate for the failure of gas from Russia.

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The Bundestag voted to amend the Energy Security Act. In the future, some companies can be placed under emergency guardianship. In addition, the deputies passed the law on tax exemption for traffic lights.

DrThe country in Germany should be able to reach energy companies more easily in the future if there are serious supply bottlenecks. The Bundestag on Thursday approved a similar amendment to the Energy Security Act from 1975 with the votes of government factions, the SPD, the Greens, the Free Democratic Party as well as the left. The AfD rejected the plans, and the Greens abstained from the vote. The project has yet to be approved by the Federal Council, which according to Federal Economy Minister Robert Habeck (the Greens) may happen on Friday next week.

The new version of the law states that companies that manage critical energy infrastructure can be placed under guardianship if necessary. As a last resort, companies can also be confiscated if there is no other way to ensure the security of the energy supply. This extended scope of work could become relevant in the case of the PCK oil refinery in Schwedt, Brandenburg.

This is extremely important for the oil supply in East Germany. To date, it has mainly processed Russian oil. PCK is majority owned by Rosneft Germany, a subsidiary of Russia’s state-owned Rosneft Corporation. Because of the embargo on Russian oil imports discussed at the EU level, Habek is looking for alternative oil sources to Schweidt via Rostock, and possibly also via Danzig. Law can also play a role in the gas sector.

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Companies operating in the energy sector are part of Germany’s critical infrastructure. This means that they have a special meaning for everyday life, which is why their special specifications are applied. If there is a “concrete risk” that the company will not perform its duties and the security of supply is threatened, the amended law can place it temporarily under guardianship. In order to ensure security of supply, the possibility of expropriation is created for companies in critical infrastructure as a last resort.

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If, in particular, gas imports into Germany are significantly reduced, gas suppliers are given the right to adjust their prices – that is, to increase them. The prerequisite is that the second or third level of the gas emergency plan, the alert or emergency level, has been formally established. Customers must be informed in time and have the right to cancel. The exemption from the increased rates temporarily ends when the Federal Network Agency formally decides that the shortage will end.

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Rely on Russia

While AfD politician Rainer Kraft accused the alliance of weak and hasty law and “neo-communist ideas”, the two other opposition groups, the CDU/CSU and the Left Party, indicated substantial support. Mark Helfrich, a politician from the Christian Democratic Union, said the union would have liked to support the traffic light, but had stomach aches at the point of adjusting prices in the event of a gas shortage. Therefore, the union can only abstain from voting. For the left, MP Matthias Berkwald criticized the fact that state-controlled companies must be privatized again after the threat to the security of supplies has subsided. However, the left approves of the law.

The Energy Security Act has changed only slightly since 1975. In the parliamentary process, the FDP triumphed over the government’s project that after the company was nationalized, it would have to be privatized again later. The Federal Council now has to deal with the next amendment, possibly on May 20.

The Bundestag approves a tax exemption law

The Bundestag also passed the 2022 tax exemption law on Thursday, one of the traffic lights alliance’s reaction to the sharp rise in energy prices. Traffic light groups from the SPD, Greens and the FDP voted in favor of the bill. The union voted against it. The AfD and the Left abstained from the vote.

The act of running three tuning screws. The total amount of employees to cover income-related expenses will be increased by €200 to €1,200 retroactively from January 1, 2022. This also applies to the increase in the basic provision for income tax by €363 to €10,347. Long-distance travelers can also claim 38 cents per kilometer of tax retroactively from the start of the year from the 21st kilometer. According to the Ministry of Finance, the measures will reduce tax revenues from federal, state and local governments by about 4.5 billion euros this year. Also in the years to 2026, the revenue shortfall will be more than four billion euros.

The Bundestag had previously agreed to immediate surcharges for children. “As of July 1, about 2.9 million children affected by poverty in Germany will receive an additional €20 per month,” said the new Federal Minister for Family Affairs Lisa Paus (Green Party). “And there is the Children’s Bonus 2022 as an additional one-time payment for families of €100 per child.”

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