With the start of Russia's full-scale attack on Ukraine, the German oil and gas company announced its withdrawal from Russia. During the year, the number of staff was halved, but the company is still in the process of exiting, as the Russian authorities "constantly create new barriers, obstacles and administrative procedures." This was announced by the head of Wintershall Dea, Mario Meren.
"We no longer see prospects for energy cooperation with Russia in the near future. Our decision is final. We have begun to take appropriate steps in recent weeks. We have begun the process of closing our office in St. Petersburg, reducing the number of our local colleagues. We have also returned our expatriate colleagues from Russia back to their home jurisdictions. We are also considering different exit options," Mario Meren.
Mr Marin stressed that Russian military activity against Ukraine is unacceptable, and the company's decision to withdraw "does not provide for revision." He added that he was "not surprised" by the decree on the seizure of foreign assets and that the Russian government itself "remains unpredictable and unreliable" for foreign investors.
"This is yet another set of documents adopted by the Russian president or government that directly interferes with the interests of foreign companies in Russia. We, as Wintershall Dea, have already experienced interference in the activities of our joint ventures, because the transfer of dividends has been stopped (this requires special permission), our rights to vote within the framework of corporate procedures have been limited," Mario Meren.
"So far, this decree has not affected us. But I cannot tell you that this will not happen. As I said, anything can happen in Russia now, any direct interference with our rights and our assets," Maren continued.
Before the war, Wintershall Dea was involved in several Gazprom projects. After the company's decision to leave the aggressive Russian market, the Russian authorities seized (stole) the assets of Wintershall Dea: €2 billion "disappeared" from the company's accounts.