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LONDON: Germany has entered into an energy partnership with Qatar that will help reduce the former’s dependence on gas and oil imported from Russia.
Germany has so far been one of the loudest voices in the EU against an embargo on Russian fuel imports, fearing that the German economy could shrink by 5% if gas imports from of Russia stop.
Europe’s largest economy, Germany gets around 55% of its gas from Russia, as well as 45% of its coal and 35% of its oil.
Robert Habeck, Germany’s economy minister and vice-chancellor, has warned that next winter’s gas supply is “not yet secure” against the possibility of Moscow cutting off supplies to Germany.
To that end, Habeck traveled the Gulf to explore other options for securing Germany’s gas and energy supplies.
Germany has no facilities to import liquefied natural gas, which currently has to be delivered either by road or by train, usually at high costs.
It is preparing to build its first LNG terminals in the ports and is courting potential suppliers.
Meanwhile, Qatar – already one of the most prolific LNG exporters in the world – aims to double its production.
On Sunday, the two countries agreed on a deal under which Qatar will ship LNG to Germany, once the infrastructure is in place. The terms of the agreement, however, remain secret.
In turn, Qatar would get help from the Germans to boost its renewable energy sector.
Habeck said: “The energy partnership means that in the best case scenario we will get a contractual commitment that something can be delivered once we have extended the European and especially German infrastructure.”
He added: “After all, it makes no sense to build terminals and gas pipelines through which no gas flows.”
Germany, however, remains focused on diversifying its supplier base, and imports from Norway, Canada and the United States are also on the table.