August 20, 2022

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Germany acquires stake in troubled gas company Uniper

Germany acquires stake in troubled gas company Uniper

With the entry of the German government, the stake held by Uniper’s largest shareholder, a Finnish energy company called Fortum, will drop to 56 percent from 80 percent. Fortum Uniper awarded €8 billion in loan support and guarantees, and the Finnish government, which holds a majority stake in Fortum, declined to provide further support.

“The German government is making shareholders, including Fortum, take some pain,” said Deepa Venkateswaran, facilities analyst at Bernstein Research. It estimated that Uniper was losing 55 million euros a day.

For decades, Uniper bought most of its gas from Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned supplier, and sold it to German factories and municipalities. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Gazprom has broken its long-term contracts and started reducing the amount of gas it supplies to Europe, leaving Uniper to buy gas from other suppliers at higher prices.

Uniper has been in talks with the government for weeks and Submit a formal request for help On July 8 the company sought to portray itself as a vital component of Germany’s energy system worth salvaging, not only because it is a major importer of natural gas that it sells to dozens of municipalities and companies, but also because of working with the government to build one of the country’s first plants. to receive liquefied natural gas.

This effort should allow Germany to import fuel from a variety of sources, including the United States, thus easing its dependence on Russia. Prior to the invasion on February 24, Russia supplied Germany with 55 percent of its natural gas supplies. In the weeks immediately following, Germany was able to reduce this dependence by about 20 percent.

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Uniper is also taking steps to develop hydrogen, which is touted as the clean energy fuel of the future. “I am pleased and relieved that today’s agreement serves to financially stabilize Uniper as an important energy partner for the system,” said Mr.

The German government encourages consumers to conserve energy. It is also replacing gas-fired generators with coal- and lignite-fired plants — both of which expel more greenhouse emissions — in an effort to provide more gas to heat homes and power plants.