Germany to wean itself off Russian coal, oil in 2022
But an immediate ban on all energy imports from Russia, including gas, would cause unacceptable hardships for people in Germany, Robert Habeck says
Germany’s reliance on Russia for most of its coal and oil can stop by the end of the year if government measures work out as planned, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
But an immediate ban on all energy imports from Russia, including gas, would cause unacceptable hardships for people in Germany and its economy, he said.
“Every day, indeed every hour, we are reducing Russian imports,” Habeck, a member of the Green party in Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ three-way coalition, told the newspaper. “If we succeed, we will be independent of Russian coal by the fall and almost independent of oil from Russia by the end of the year.”
Any blanket embargo on Russian energy in response to the country’s war against Ukraine would prompt supply bottlenecks next winter, high inflation, job losses and unaffordable heating and electricity for many, he said. Reducing German dependence on gas from Russia is more complicated because Germany doesn’t yet have its own infrastructure for liquefied natural gas, he said.
Joerg Kukies, Scholz’ top economic aide, said on Twitter Saturday that he met with Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani to discuss “bilateral cooperation particularly in energy and corporate investments.” Qatar is one of the world’s biggest LNG exporters.
Germany plans to build at least two LNG terminals on its North Sea shores but it could take three to five years before those terminals are ready. As an interim solution, the German government is now looking into floating storage and regasification units which could help import LNG sooner, a senior government official said.
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