Wintershall says it is working on divesting from joint projects in the sanctioned country
One of Europe’s leading oil and gas companies, Wintershall Dea, announced plans to completely pull out of Russia and is currently exploring ways to withdraw from joint projects in the country.
“We no longer see any prospects for the energy partnership in and with Russia for the foreseeable future. Our decision is final,” Wintershall CEO Mario Mehren stated at a press conference on Wednesday. “We have been taking appropriate steps over the past weeks.”
The company is studying options to divest from its Russian assets and taking personnel out of the country, he said.
According to the chief executive, there are now less than 50 people left in the company’s office in St. Petersburg, and staff elsewhere in the country has also been reduced.
Mehren noted that the exit process from Russia is complex, as the Russian authorities are allegedly creating “new hurdles, obstacles and administrative processes for those wanting to leave the country.” The exact timing of the completion of the procedure remains unclear, he said.
Wintershall announced its intention to leave Russia in January amid growing criticism for its continued involvement in the sanctioned country. Unlike a number of Western energy firms, including France’s TotalEnergies, Wintershall refused to leave Russia immediately, citing company interests.
The majority BASF-owned company had deep ties to Russia, including stakes in the Nord Stream gas pipelines and joint ventures with Gazprom. Exiting from the Siberian gas field projects would be difficult, Mehren said.
Wintershall will reportedly record a loss of €5.3 billion ($5.8 billion) from the deconsolidation of joint ventures in Russia. The energy giant’s Russia operations accounted for over half of its output worldwide.
According to the CEO, Wintershall is also looking into filing insurance claims and federal investment guarantees to recoup financial losses.