Explainer-How can Germany seize Rosneft’s assets?

By Riham Alkousa

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s economy ministry informed Rosneft earlier this week that it is considering seizing shares in the company’s German assets, the Russian oil giant’s law firm in Germany said on Thursday.

Here’s what is known about the potential plan and how Germany might proceed:

Why has Berlin decided to freeze Rosneft’s assets in Germany?

In the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the German government put Rosneft’s German business, including its 54.17% stake in Berlin’s Schwedt refinery, under a so-called trusteeship in September 2022. It expires in March.

Germany’s economy ministry told Rosneft it was considering seizure because there would be a risk of the refineries’ operations being jeopardized if Russia regained control of the companies.

How much would Berlin have to pay for Rosneft’s assets in Germany?

Vedomosti newspaper, citing an unnamed consultancy, said Rosneft’s assets in Germany could be worth $7 billion in 2022. Berlin declined to say how much it would have to pay to compensate Rosneft and how it might finance it. Rosneft did not respond to a request for comment.

How will confiscation work legally?

Rosneft had already filed a case against the trusteeship in December and said it was preparing other appeals to the European Court of Human Rights, the Investment Protection Arbitration Court and the European Court of Justice.

Joachim Wieland, professor of constitutional, administrative and public commercial law at the German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer, said the seizures would be based on Germany’s Energy Security Act, which was amended after Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The law allows confiscation to secure energy supplies in Germany, Wieland said, and can be enforced under a clause…

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