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German government says in talks with Wintershall Dea about Russia production

Pump jacks on an oil field in Emlichheim

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The German government is in talks with oil and gas producer Wintershall Dea after a media report that the company's Russian gas condensate production helps support the Russian war effort against Ukraine, a spokesperson said.

The German government spokesperson declined to comment on details of the media report in a regular government news conference on Monday but said Berlin was in talks with Wintershall.

The spokesperson added that Germany stood by Ukraine.

Asked for a comment, Wintershall Dea has pointed to its statement on Friday saying it rejected the accusations and reserved the right to consider legal action.

German magazine Spiegel and public broadcaster ZDF had reported on Friday that their investigations had shown that gas condensate produced in Russia by joint ventures between Wintershall Dea and Gazprom was processed into jet fuel, among other uses.

Citing a military expert, the outlets said the jet fuel delivered by Wintershall Dea to Gazprom could be used for military purposes.

"The accusation that condensate from the Achimov formation, which Wintershall Dea is involved in producing via joint ventures, is being used directly or conceivably even indirectly for the war of aggression is dishonest and untenable," Wintershall Chief Executive Mario Mehren said in its statement.

After Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, Wintershall Dea said it had stopped all new exploration projects and written off its participation in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, but could not simply abandon its assets - while being unable to access the profit - as that would be a free gift to the Kremlin.

Leaving Russia was legally difficult as disposing of shares in companies there required Russian government approval, Mehren said in the note.

Wintershall Dea had no influence over gas and condensate deliveries from two joint ventures, Achimgaz and Achim Development, to Gazprom, but they were marketed mostly for petrochemical applications, it said.

The third joint venture, Severneftegazprom, does not produce gas condensate, it added.

(Reporting by Vera Eckert and Matthias Williams, editing by David Evans)