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German Court Rules in Favor of Alcmene in Refinery Ownership Dispute

 |  November 8, 2023

German court has issued a ruling against the national government in an ongoing dispute over the ownership of the PCK Schwedt refinery, previously seized from Russian oil giant Rosneft PJSC. The Berlin Administrative Court determined the validity of Alcmene GmbH’s acquisition of Shell Plc’s share in the refinery, a transaction that was brokered in 2021.

The controversy stems from the fact that the government, in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, took control of the local Rosneft unit last year and subsequently did not grant approval for the sale of the refinery. In response to the court’s ruling, the Economy Ministry has announced that it will carefully review the judgment and decide whether to lodge an appeal, as stated by a ministry spokeswoman.

This legal battle underscores the intricate energy connections that existed between Russia and Germany prior to the conflict, highlighting the challenges of unraveling such ties through legal means. The ownership of the Schwedt refinery, located in eastern Germany, has remained uncertain, particularly as the European Union grapples with the aftermath of last year’s energy crisis.

The dispute originally arose when Alcmene concluded its purchase agreement for Shell’s 37.5% stake in the eastern German plant more than two years ago. However, the majority shareholder, Rosneft, also expressed its interest in acquiring the stake and exercised its right of first refusal, setting the stage for a prolonged legal dispute. Germany’s antitrust regulator cleared the Alcmene deal last year, but final approval became more complicated when the government took over Rosneft’s local unit. The court’s decision adds a new dimension to this complex and ongoing legal battle over the refinery’s ownership.

Source: BNN Bloomerg