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The German government is making a bid to take over three large gas companies in an effort to stave off to avoid an energy collapse.
Germany is in talks to takeover Uniper, VNG and Securing Energy for Europe as the main solution to the country’s energy woes, which have been exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent lack of Russian energy flowing to Europe, according to a Thursday Bloomberg report.
The potential move comes as Europe has already passed a series of bailouts as the energy crisis has deepened, with Uniper reporting that the company losses of as much as €100 million a day after Europe was cutoff from Russia’s main pipeline.
Germany has been heavily dependent on Russian natural gas in recent years as the country has sought to convert to greener sources of energy, becoming one of Russia’s more dependable customers until its invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.
But without the flow of Russian gas to make up the energy shortfall, Germany is now considering what would be a drastic step to avert collapse.
“Things are complex, we are working it through very carefully,” German economy minister Robert Habeck said, according to Bloomberg.
Taking ownership of the three companies will not be easy, with Unipar still being majority owned by Finnish utility Fortum. Meanwhile, a takeover of SEFE risks inadvertently channeling funds to Russia as a result of the company’s ownership by a Russian entity called Joint Stock Company Palmary.
While a law passed by Germany in April would allow for the takeover, it would also likely require payment to thy company’s Russian owners.