BERLIN -- German energy company Uniper said Wednesday it's suing Gazprom for damages over natural gas that hasn't been delivered since June, when the Russian supplier started reducing amounts to Germany.
Gas importer Uniper said it has initiated proceedings against Gazprom Export at an international arbitration tribunal in Stockholm. It said the cost to replace gas that Russia failed to supply so far totals at least 11.6 billion euros ($12 billion) and that cost will continue to increase until the end of 2024.
Gazprom started reducing gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany in mid-June, citing alleged technical problems. German officials dismissed that explanation as cover for a political decision to push up prices and create uncertainty.
Russia hasn't delivered any gas to Germany, which is supporting Ukraine in the face of Russia's invasion, since the end of August.
Uniper has incurred huge costs as a result of the gas cuts. The government announced the company's nationalization in late September.
The cuts have contributed to high prices for heating fuel and power generation which, in turn, have raised fears of business closures, rationing and a recession as the weather turns cold. Uniper has been forced to buy gas at far higher market prices to meet is supply contract obligations.
“We are claiming recovery of our significant financial damages in these proceedings. It’s about gas volumes that were contractually agreed with Gazprom but not delivered and for which we had to procure replacements at extremely high market prices and still have to do so," Uniper CEO Klaus-Dieter Maubach said in a statement.
"We incurred these costs, but they are not our responsibility. We are pursuing these legal proceedings with all due vigor: We owe this to our shareholders, our employees and the taxpayers.”
Uniper also said it has decided to “further distance itself as far as possible” from Russian unit Unipro, saying that a sale was agreed in September with a local buyer but Russian regulatory approval is outstanding and “uncertain.”
Uniper said that Unipro's management hasn't been involved in the parent company's “information processes” for some time and that finances and IT systems also have been separated. It said its board this week launched a process to further separate the two companies “as far as possible.”