Dhe Russian gas company Gazprom justified the lack of gas deliveries to its customer Uniper as force majeure. Uniper has received a letter from Gazprom Export, a spokesman for the energy supplier told the financial news agency dpa-AFX on Monday afternoon in Düsseldorf. Gazprom Export is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Russian state-owned company.
In the letter, Gazprom Export retrospectively asserted “force majeure” for the previous and current shortages in gas deliveries. According to the spokesman, however, Uniper considers this to be unjustified and has formally rejected this claim. The Reuters news agency had previously reported, without naming the company, that Gazprom had contacted at least one customer with the letter.
“Force Majeure” is understood to mean an external, unforeseeable event which is beyond the control of the contracting parties. This can include, for example, war, natural disasters or pandemics, which mean that a service can only be performed inadequately or not at all.
Pipeline maintenance is expected to last until July 21
The Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which is important for Germany, is expected to be maintained until July 21, so that no more gas will flow through the pipes under the Baltic Sea. But even before that, the Russian state-owned company Gazprom had cut deliveries to 40 percent and justified this with a missing turbine. The federal government considers this argument to be false and fears that no more gas will flow through Nord Stream 1 even after the maintenance.
During the energy crisis, which was triggered by reduced gas supplies, Uniper made full use of its credit line of two billion euros agreed with the state development bank KfW. As the company also announced in Düsseldorf on Monday, it also applied for an increase in the credit line agreed with KfW.
According to the company, borrowing from KfW is one of several immediate stabilization measures. Taking gas from storage facilities to secure liquidity and supply customers is another. The company said that negotiations with the German federal government about state aid measures would continue.
Uniper is primarily aiming for the federal government to get involved in the company. The basis for this was only recently created by the Bundestag and Bundesrat, which made it easier for governments to invest in struggling energy companies by changing the law. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) promised Uniper help, but has not yet commented on the details of possible support.