The first meetings between the Government and the energy companies ended this Thursday with very few details about the tax announced on Tuesday. The morning meeting between the third vice president and minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, and the gas (Sedigas) and electricity (Aelec) employers concluded without any specifics on the design and operation of the tax. In the afternoon meeting, with the Spanish Association of Petroleum Product Operators (AOP), the tax issue was not even discussed: it was practically a monograph on the plans that Spain will take to the next Council of Energy Ministers to be held on next day 26 in Brussels to try to tie a joint plan that allows to ensure the supply next winter.
“At the meeting, only the contingency plan was discussed,” explains a person familiar with the meeting between representatives of the Ministry and the oil companies. In it, Ribera invited both the oil companies —as he had already done in the morning with the electricity and gas companies— to make proposals on two highly topical issues: energy saving and substitution of the greatest possible amount of gas through the electrification.
After the reproaches made on Wednesday by the AOP (Endesa, Iberdrola and EDP, among others), which stated that one could not “talk about extraordinary profits” and that in the crude oil and fuel business “margins are cyclical and there are no We must forget the losses that occurred in 2020 of billions of euros among the companies that operate in the country”, this Thursday it was the turn of the Sedigas critics. After concluding the meeting with Ribera, the association that represents the interests of the gas companies issued a statement in which it stated that it did not understand “the operation and impact of the tax raised by the Government” with the information available or “what calculation is going to be company, what is going to be the tax base or what type of tax” will it be.
“Prudence, due to ignorance, prevents us from being able to make an assessment of the impact that this new tax will have on our sector, but we understand that any uncertainty has effects on the investment plans of companies and negatively affects their operations and their creation prospects. of employment and growth”, Sedigas has dispatched. “It does not seem the most sensible measure,” he concluded while charging against the -in his opinion- belligerent rhetoric of the Executive.
The government’s plan —announced on Tuesday by the president, Pedro Sánchez, in the first stages of the control session in Congress— is to raise around 2,000 million euros a year, both in 2023 and 2024, taxing the “ extraordinary benefits” of companies in the energy sector: oil, gas and electricity. As they specified later from the Ministry of Finance, the tax – most likely inspired by the Italian, which applies a 25% surcharge on the increase in profits since the beginning of the energy crisis – will only be applied to companies that invoice 1,000 million euros per year or more.