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For decades, pipeline crude oil from Russia flowed into a huge refinery in the industrial town of Schwedt on the Oder River in Germany, which employs thousands of workers and is a reliable source of gasoline, jet fuel and heating oil for Berlin residents. .

Now, EU member states are struggling to agree Terms of the oil ban To punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, the Schweitz refinery has become a major stumbling block in Germany’s efforts to erode its confidence in Russian oil. The opportunity has raised awareness among the 1,200 employees of the refinery.

Germany relies on Russia for one-third of its oil.

In a video aimed at explaining the situation to the Germans, Mr. Hebeck said. Most of that Russian oil comes from a refinery in Schwartz.

This refinery is a symbol of how deeply Germany’s oil and gas needs are tied to its giant energy exporters in the East. The PCK refinery – whose East German roots are named after the state-owned Petrolchemisches Kombinat or Petrochemical Combine – is owned by the Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft. It is connected to the Soviet-era Trushpa Pipeline, one of the longest in the world, bringing oil from Siberian wells to Western Europe.

It is an integral part of Germany’s energy needs, producing fuel for nearby areas, including Berlin and Poland, Germany’s largest cities. The availability of enough oil to replace the 12 million tons of crude oil that is processed each year in the northern squat through the German and Polish ports is only part of the mystery, Rosneft said, adding that German officials were not interested in operating the refinery. Non-Russian oil.

debt…Philip Singer / EPA, via Shutterstock

To address that problem, the German parliament last week approved a law that would make it easier to seize essential infrastructure under foreign ownership to prevent a national emergency. German officials say the new law will allow Berlin to ensure that Berlin supplies enough oil until another company is found to buy Rosneft’s shares.

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Shell, Europe’s largest energy company, has a 37.5 percent stake in PCK, which recently said it would support the refinery “to maintain supply to the region even at the expense of economic losses.” Last year, Rosneft sought to sell its stake in the shell refinery and Rosneft sought to buy it, but the German Ministry of Economy, which weighs in on the political and strategic aspects of foreign investment, has not yet approved the transaction.

Another energy company, Alkmeen, A portion of the Liwathon Group, a privately owned British energy holding company, has expressed interest in investing in Schwedt. “We can provide security and full utilization of the distribution of the PCK refinery through German ports without government subsidies,” Alcmene said in an email statement.

debt…Catherine Stretcher for The New York Times

President Olaf Scholes has made it clear that he is aware of the concerns surrounding the refinery and that ensuring its future is a priority.

At a recent meeting of his party in the state of Brandenburg, he said, “We are watching very closely how this can really work.” “We are also going to make sure the employees are not left alone.”

Fears that the layoffs would be in a corner attracted hundreds of workers, many dressed in PCK’s official glowing orange and wild green, to the company’s canteen this month. They came to meet Hebeck in townhall-style.

Like other parts of former East Germany, Schwartz suffered widespread job losses after the collapse of Communism. Memories of 25 percent unemployment still haunt the region.

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In addition, the refinery is not only a source of oil and revenue; It is also the symbol of the city. After the Soviet Union leveled Schwart at the end of World War II, the arrival of the oil pipeline – whose name, Trushpa, means friendly in Russian – and the refinery attracted thousands of workers and their families in the late 1960s, attracting safe jobs. PCK’s slogan: “We are moving Berlin and Brandenburg!”

Today, about a tenth of the city’s 30,000 people hold secure union jobs in refineries and ancillary industries. Many workers told Mr. They used the meeting with Hebek to question the government’s attitude.

debt…Jens Schlueter / Agence France-Presse – Getty Images

“Why should we take away and ban a business partner who has been trusted and always provided for decades?” Asked someone who identified himself as having worked at the refinery for 27 years.

“My wish is really to get rid of the Trushpa pipeline completely,” said another employee who identified herself as the mother of three young children. “There is no profitable alternative.”

Employees who spoke during the event were not identified and reporters were asked to protect their privacy.

Mr. Hebek tried to reassure the crowd that the refinery would continue to operate. “If everything works on paper,” crude oil from Norway or the Middle East could be shipped from the ports of Rostock, Gdansk in Germany and Poland, both of which are connected to the refinery by pipelines.

At the same time, he acknowledged that there were several points in the process.

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The PCK facility, like other refineries, is designed to process certain types of crude oil from Russia. The crude oil of other countries should be mixed with the oil in the reserve tanks on the northwest coast of Germany to form a suitable mixture.

It would take a seven-day voyage by sea to get that reserve oil at the pipeline in Rostock, as no pipes crossed the former border separating East and West Germany, and the country’s main railway freight director had almost no oil cars.

Another possible problem: the Polish government refuses to work with Russian companies and tells German officials that oil will not come from Gdansk as long as it is interested in the Rosneft refinery.

debt…Catherine Stretcher for The New York Times

“We can’t be completely sure what we’re doing,” he said. Hebeck told cleaning staff. “But at least it was fully discussed and thought out.”

In the end, Mr. Hebek and local officials want to see the refinery abandon fossil fuels and focus on renewable energy. In recent years, PCK has invested in hydrogen-centric synthetic fuels. Verbio, which produces ethanol from local sources, operates on the site of the refinery and feeds bio-energy into the city’s heating system.

Officials in Berlin emphasized the economic appeal of the surrounding region, pointing to the newly completed Tesla assembly plant And Intel’s announcement a $ 19 billion chip manufacturing facility. Both companies were inspired by the sheer renewable energy, said Carsten Schneider, a spokesman for President Scholes in the East. He also spoke to residents of Schwartz, Germany.

“I assure them that the German government will not abandon them, but will work for a short-term solution to conserve oil elsewhere and for a long-term restructuring towards renewable energy production,” he said.

The mayor of the city, Annakathrin Hope, said he would like to set up a campus for start-ups, incubators and other energy innovators near the refinery to promote the transition to green energy production. But he said it would require “millions or billions.”

debt…Catherine Stretcher for The New York Times

He said that although politicians from Berlin were more focused on his city, he had not yet seen any deadlines or firm promises or promises of financial assistance that people would be able to retain their jobs.

“It was a good start,” he said of the exciting visits of the past few weeks. “But that’s only a beginning.”

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