Germany “days away” from being independent of Russian oil

In 2021, Russian oil accounted for around 35% of Germany’s oil consumption. European nations have been under increasing pressure to reduce their reliance on Russian oil since the Ukraine invasion on February 24. Germany has previously been reluctant to support an immediate ban on Russian oil due to its dependence on the country’s oil and gas.

A month ago, Germany announced it had reduced its dependence on Russian supply to 25% of its imports. On Tuesday, 26 April, during a visit to Warsaw to discuss energy security, Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck announced that Russian oil now accounted for only 12% of German supply and was restricted to one refinery – the PCK refinery in Schwedt – which is majority-owned and operated by Russian state-owned oil company, Rosneft.

“The Schwedt business model is based on buying Russian oil. That is a bone of contention, we need an alternative for Schwedt, and we will be working on it in the coming days,” Habeck said.

Speaking alongside his Polish counterpart, Anna Moskwa, Habeck said Germany is “very, very close” to being able to forego Russian oil. Previously, the government had indicated it would be the end of the year before it could do so. Habeck told Journalists a full embargo on Russian oil has become “manageable” for Germany.

Habeck credited “intensified cooperation” between Germany and Poland for allowing Europe’s largest nation to quickly reduce its reliance on Russian imports. The “intensified cooperation” includes the development of new supply countries and new supply contracts.

As Germany works frantically to reduce ties to Putin and to maximise pressure on Russia, it says it is pursuing all transportation avenues to substitute Kremlin’s Ural crude. The Polish port of Gdansk will play a pivotal role in the endeavour.

Habeck’s announcement came hot on the heels of reports that Brussels is getting ready to hit Russia with ‘smart sanctions’ that could include a gradual phasing-out of Russian oil.