The badly hit energy group Uniper wants billions in damages from its long-standing trading partner Gazprom.

Arbitration proceedings were therefore initiated on Wednesday, said CEO Klaus-Dieter Maubach.

It's about the additional costs that Uniper has to incur to replace failed natural gas deliveries.

The damage is currently at almost 12 billion euros, but the sum will continue to rise until the end of 2024.

At its peak, Uniper lost more than 200 million euros a day, currently it is around 100 million euros because gas prices have recently fallen again.

"We owe it to the taxpayers"

Helmut Buender

Business correspondent in Düsseldorf.

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A procedure according to Swiss law before an arbitration board in Stockholm has been agreed in the contracts with the Gazprom export company.

Whether that will happen is uncertain.

Gazprom boss Miller has not yet reacted to the advance, Maubach reported.

Nevertheless, everything that is legally possible will be tried, "we owe that to Uniper and the taxpayers," said the CEO.

The group is about to be nationalized: On December 19, the general meeting is to formally approve the entry of the federal government.

A gradual equity increase of up to 33 billion euros is planned.

In view of the Ukraine war, Uniper also wants to divest itself of its business in Russia as much as possible.

Since a sale is currently not possible, the legal and personal ties should be cut as far as possible.

Financial flows and information technology have already been encapsulated, said Maubach.

The goal is a "maximum distance" without giving up the economic claim.

At the same time, you want to get out of the associated risks.

It is assumed that the federal government is pushing for this in order to be able to go into nationalization without this legacy.

The Düsseldorf-based company holds an 84 percent stake in the power plant company, which operates under the name Unipro.

It operates five large gas and coal-fired power plants, which cover around 5 percent of Russia's total electricity needs.

Uniper had already put its holding up for sale before the war because it was no longer “strategically” appropriate.

In the meantime, the sale process had been interrupted.

A domestic buyer was actually found in September, but the deal was blocked by the Russian authorities.

"We only see a low probability of success," said Maubach.

Unipro employs almost 5000 people.

Last year, the business contributed almost a fifth to the adjusted operating result.

After stopping Russian gas deliveries, Germany now covers half of its gas consumption with deliveries from Norway.

According to the Reuters news agency in Berlin, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday after a meeting with Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store.

"We will do everything we can to keep production at maximum levels and will continue to explore for gas," Store said.

He emphasized that Norway has no interest in extremely high gas prices.

"We want stability and the ability to plan." If branches of industry go bust in Europe, this also affects Norway.

That's why his country is trying to ramp up gas production.