Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Germany has been attempting to decrease its dependence on Russia.
Germany and Qatar have agreed on a long-term energy partnership for the Gulf state to supply the European country with liquified natural gas (LNG). This deal will help Europe’s biggest economy diversify its LNG sources and become less dependent on Russia for energy.
It comes after a meeting on Sunday between Qatar’s Minister of Energy Affairs and QatarEnergy CEO, Saad Al-Kaabi, and Robert Habeck, Germany’s Economic Minister. During the talks, representatives from Germany confirmed that their government is taking action to speed up the development of two LNG receiving terminals.
Discussions of QatarEnergy supplying German companies with Qatari LNG have been underway for a number of years.
Robert Habeck also met Amir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Sunday. During the meeting, the two discussed ways to enhance the countries’ bilateral relations, particularly in the energy sector. German business leaders form the energy sector accompanies Habeck on the trip.
“It is great that I can say it was firmly agreed to enter into a long-term energy partnership,” Habeck said. “The companies that are now involved in this journey will enter into contract negotiations with the Qatari side.”
Before his arrival to the Qatari capital, Habeck had expressed concerns about energy supplies for heating and electricity in Germany next winter.
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During the visit, Habeck said it is essential for Europe’s future to have a diverse energy supplier base as he sees no point in Germany transferring its dependency from a supplier to another.
The EU sees Qatar as a key player that could potentially fill the void caused by the loss of Russian oil and gas supplies. It is estimated that Europe’s current flow of money into Russia stands at $285m a day for oil alone.
Around half of Germany’s LNG imports are from Russia, making the latter Germany’s largest gas supplier, according to data on the Economy Ministry’s website. Consequently, the European nation has recently insisted that the EU excludes two banks that service the country’s Russian energy purchases out of the sanctions imposed on Russia.
This comes after Germany concluded its talks with gas powerhouse Norway, Canada, and the US, the world’s top current global exporter of LNG.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Habeck has launched several initiatives in hopes of decreasing Germany’s energy dependence on Russia. The initiatives included the country making large orders of non-Russian LNG, alongside its plans for a terminal to import natural gas, making the country’s exit from coal smoother.
The European nation also put on hold its Nordstream 2 gas pipeline project which was initially designed to bring Russian natural gas directly to Germany.
In late February, the construction of two new terminals for LNG in Germany was announced. The terminals will be located in the Northern side of the country, in Brunsbuttel and Wilhelmshaven.
Habeck plans on making Germany independent of Russian coal and gas in less than a year.
However, in recent weeks the German Green Party leader in the German coalition government has been at the receiving end of criticism for his refusal to accept a complete energy embargo on Russia.
Zelenskiy accused Germany of having only three priorities which are the “economy, economy, economy,” in a speech to the German Bundestag last week.
Berlin is currently under immense pressure by NATO allies to boycott Russian gas and oil. By the end of this year, Germany plans on ending its nuclear power production, raising questions about the country’s energy sources and their sufficiency.
Qatar is expected to almost double its production of LNG by 2025.