The BASF subsidiary Wintershall is Germany’s largest oil and gas producer – and is now planning to leave Russia. The Wintershall boss speaks of moral reasons, but mentions that Putin has “actually expropriated” the company.

Wintershall Dea is Germany’s largest oil and gas producer – and is now planning to leave Russia. The BASF subsidiary is retrospectively making its parent company lose billions in 2022. The bottom line at BASF was a deficit of around 1.4 billion euros, as the Dax group surprisingly announced.

The group does not give the reason for the surprising departure from Russia. First of all, it was said in a statement that there were moral reasons. “Continuing our business in Russia is not sustainable,” said Wintershall Dea boss Mario Mehren, according to a separate statement.

But in addition to morality, the company also mentions other reasons. The war destroyed cooperation between Russia and Europe. The subsidiary complains about the factual expropriation of its holdings there in Russia. In addition, the Russian government has restricted the activities of Western companies in the country. “The joint ventures were de facto economically expropriated,” said Mehren. “Everything we thought we had earned was skimmed off. In the meantime, all accounts of our Russian joint ventures have been cleared by Gazprom,” the Wintershall boss complained to the “Welt”.

It started last September when Putin capped the prices for the Wintershall companies in Siberia. Shortly afterwards, in December, the Kremlin imposed a general revenue cap retroactive to March 1st. Finally, last Monday, the head of the Kremlin issued a decree ending all negotiated rules on codetermination for Western companies. Shares that Wintershall once held in his joint venture are worthless.

“Empty shells that have neither value nor voting rights,” says Mehren: “We were de facto economically expropriated,” explains the Wintershall boss.