Germany, Poland aim to secure oil supply to Schwedt refinery

BERLIN (Reuters) -Germany and Poland have signed a deal aimed at securing the supply of oil to the Schwedt refinery after ending reliance on Russian oil, Germany's economy ministry said on Thursday.

Berlin aims to eliminate imports of oil from Russia by the end of the year under European Union sanctions and has for months been working with Poland to try secure supply for Schwedt, which provides 90% of Berlin's fuel.

Both sides want to ensure Polish refineries in Gdansk and Plock as well as German refineries in Schwedt and Leuna are adequately supplied with crude oil, ministers from both countries said in a joint declaration.

The declaration did not provide any details on how the supply to Schwedt would be guaranteed. Schwedt is currently under German trusteeship, but belongs to the Russian state-owned company Rosneft.

"The sides take into consideration the dependency both of Poland and Germany on Russian crude oil imports via the Druzhba Pipeline and emphasise the need to phase out imports of Russian crude oil and oil products as soon as possible," said the declaration.

"With the aim of preparing for this, the sides wish to deepen their existing cooperation with the goal of ending imports of Russian crude oil without compromising the energy security of either country," it said.

The agreement also called for cooperation between German and Polish oil companies.

Both countries also aim to set up a long-term ownership structure for the Schwedt refinery, taking into account that the Russian government or companies under its control should not benefit, said the declaration.

For Schwedt's capacity to be used adequately, it needs deliveries through the Polish port of Gdansk.

Sources told Reuters last week the two countries were nearing a deal for Poland to coordinate seaborne oil supplies to Germany via Gdansk and part of Druzhba to facilitate Poland's purchase of the Schwedt refinery in Germany.

In the first seven months of the year, Russia was still Germany's top supplier, accounting for just over 30% of oil imports.

(Additional reporting by Markus WacketReporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Deepa Babington)