UK government mulls move to take over Gazprom uniton March 21, 2022 at 9:59 pm

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The BBC understands the UK division of Russian gas giant Gazprom could be placed into administration.

Gazprom logo

Image source, Getty Images

The UK arm of Russian gas giant Gazprom could be placed into administration in the coming days, the BBC understands.

Bloomberg reported the government is preparing to step in and temporarily run Gazprom Marketing & Trading Retail Ltd, which supplies thousands of organisations across the UK.

Its clients include McDonald’s, Siemens, hospitals and councils.

It is understood the government is looking at all options and monitoring the situation closely.

One possibility could be to put the company into special administration, where it is temporarily run on behalf of the government.

Last November, the UK energy company Bulb was placed into special administration, with £1.7bn in government funds set aside to keep it trading.

The company’s UK retail operation does not sell gas from its parent company in Russia, but a number of companies and councils are thought to be trying to end their contracts with the company in protest at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Gazprom itself has also been sanctioned by the UK government.

Earlier this month, a number of councils in England told the BBC they were looking to end their Gazprom contracts as soon as possible.

According to the public services data firm Tussell, UK public sector contracts amounted to £107m in total between 2016 and 2021.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid also urged NHS trusts to stop using energy supplied by Gazprom.

A government spokesperson would not be drawn on its plans for Gazprom’s UK unit but said the UK “was in no way” dependent on Russian gas.

“Our highly diverse sources of gas supply and a diverse electricity mix ensures that households, businesses, and heavy industry get the energy they need,” they said.

“We are aware that Gazprom Energy has a large presence in the non-domestic energy retail market.

“Gazprom’s retail business continues to trade in the UK and customers should exercise their own commercial judgement with regards to energy supply contracts they have in place at the moment.”

Gazprom has been approached for comment.

A spokesperson for McDonald’s said it was trying to exit its deal “at the earliest opportunity” while Siemens UK said it was looking at the terms of cancelling supply contracts with Gazprom Marketing & Trading Retail.

“We support the severe and broad sanctions applied by western governments and are ensuring that we act in compliance with them,” it said.

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