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16 Jun 2022

Global Witness

BASF subsidiary Wintershall profits from Germany’s Russian gas addiction, Global Witness' investigation shows

BASF subsidiary profits from Germany’s Russian gas addiction, 16 June 2022

Germany’s BASF – the world’s largest chemical company – wants to look like it is doing the right thing. On the 27th of April, with the brutality of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine then undeniable, the company said it would wind down its non-food businesses in Russia and Belarus by the beginning of July 2022.

Evidently, no-one told BASF subsidiary Wintershall Dea (Wintershall), which profits from being one of Germany’s main suppliers of Russian gas.

One day after BASF’s announcement, Wintershall said it would keep drilling for Russian fossil fuels in partnership with Gazprom – a trade that made the company €400 million between January and March. Since the start of the year, Wintershall has also continued to transport Russian gas into and across Germany. Using German government gas prices, Global Witness estimates this gas to be worth over €14 billion...

A list of evidence used in this brief can be found here and all of the calculations used is here...

But it is not just BASF’s gas consumption that has caused the company to support continued imports from Russia. The company’s subsidiary Wintershall also profits from the production and transport of Russian gas upon which Germany has become dependent, a trade that provides BASF with dividends.

BASF currently owns nearly three quarters of the German gas and oil producer Wintershall, and  the subsidiary is valuable. In 2021, when BASF owned slightly less of Wintershall, its stake was worth €9.6 billion – 11 percent of BASF’s total assets...