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Article

7 Nov 2022

Author:
DER SPIEGEL,
Author:
ZDF

Germany: Wintershall Dea accused of delivering gas condensate to suppliers of the Russian Air Force

"A German Company's Questionable Involvement in Russia", 4. November 2022

A joint venture of the German company Wintershall Dea delivers gas condensate to Gazprom. The Russian state-owned corporation in turn provides aviation fuel to two military bases believed to be behind air strikes that have been internationally criticized as possible war crimes.

The March 3 attack on the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv earlier this year killed dozens of civilians. Some of the victims had apparently been waiting in line for food. Military targets do not appear to have been in the surrounding area. The human rights organizations Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are describing the event as an apparent war crime and have called for investigations by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the United Nations.

If that were to happen, a German company could also become a target: Wintershall Dea. The company is involved in a joint venture with a Gazprom subsidiary. And that joint venture supplies Gazprom, Russia's main producer of aviation fuel, with gas condensate, which happens to be one of the basic materials used in the production of jet fuel.

Joint reporting conducted by DER SPIEGEL and "Frontal," a news show produced by German public broadcaster ZDF, has revealed that the fighter jets that flew the attack on Chernihiv are likely to have been fueled with fuel from Gazprom. Wintershall Dea, a company that is majority-owned by German chemical giant BASF, says it considers a direct link between the gas condensate production in question and the Russian attacks to be "construed.” The company has also stated, however, that it could not guarantee the extracted gas condensate is not used for military purposes. It is "further processed into many different petrochemical products," it said.

Wintershall Dea is currently ruling out the suspension of production in Russia. The company says that because the issue is related to a joint venture, it isn't possible to suspend deliveries to Gazprom on its own, nor does it have any influence on production. The German corporation has the option of withdrawing from the joint venture entirely, but it would lose a lot of money in the process.

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