EnBW boss to Putin’s Russia: no new energy deals

A logo of German power supplier EnBW Energie Baden-Wuertemberg AG is pictured at the companies headquarters in Karlsruhe
FILE PHOTO: A logo of German power supplier EnBW Energie Baden-Wuertemberg AG is pictured at the companies headquarters in Karlsruhe, March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

March 23, 2022

By Christoph Steitz and Tom Käckenhoff

FRANKFURT (Reuters) -Germany’s EnBW will avoid any new energy supply deals with Russia for as long as Vladimir Putin is its president, the utility’s chief executive said in response to Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

“There won’t be any new supply contracts with Russia under this leadership,” Frank Mastiaux told journalists at the group’s annual press conference, four weeks after the war on Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”, began.

EnBW, Germany’s No.3 energy company by market value, has stepped up efforts to cut Russian coal and gas supplies but said it could not make up for a sudden halt to imports – chiming with larger rivals RWE and E.ON.

“As you know, completely replacing procurement in the short term in the event of a theoretical loss of Russian gas is not feasible for us, as it is for most market participants,” Mastiaux said after presenting full-year results.

“Germany will continue to rely on gas imports for some time to come,” Mastiaux said, adding he welcomed economy minister Robert Habeck’s efforts to seek liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar.

EnBW received 3.6 million tonnes, or 86%, of its hard coal supply from Russia, he said, adding it started to diversify procurement at the end of 2021, and existing stockpiles will ensure supply well into the current year.

Turning to gas, which includes the group’s VNG division, EnBW said that 20% of the 495 terawatt hours (TWh) it procured last year came via direct agreements with Russian suppliers, adding those volumes would decrease from 2023 onwards.

EnBW finance chief Thomas Kusterer said VNG had two direct contracts with Russian suppliers, one of which – with a volume of 35 TWh – was due to expire at the end of 2022, while another 65 TWh contract runs until 2030.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz, Vera Eckert and Tom Kaeckenhoff; Editing by Miranda Murray, Madeline Chambers and Barbara Lewis)