BERLIN — The German government, working to reduce its dependence on Russian oil and gas, discussed energy supplies with Qatar this week, the federal chancellery’s state secretary said on Saturday.
“We discussed bilateral cooperation particularly in energy and corporate investments,” Joerg Kukies said on Twitter, adding he talked to Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, who also heads the Qatar Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund, on Wednesday.
Germany is to close its last nuclear power plants this year and plans to build its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal within two years.
Qatar is one of the countries that have recently been approached by the United States to reroute gas supplies to Europe. The country has said it could divert probably 10-15% of its LNG shipping volumes. It plans to raise LNG production capacity to 126 million tonnes a year by 2027 from 77 million tonnes at present.
The European Commission is working on plans to phase out the EU’s dependency on Russian gas, oil and coal in five years following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, its head Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday.
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung he planned to make Germany independent of Russian coal and oil in less than a year.
“Every day, in fact every hour, we say goodbye to Russian imports to a certain extent,” Habeck told the weekly. “If it works, we will be independent of Russian coal in the autumn and almost independent of oil from Russia by the end of the year.”
He said gas was more complicated as Germany does not yet have the capacity to import LNG and reiterated an immediate embargo on supplies could cause bottlenecks next winter, an economic slump and high inflation. (Reporting by Andreas Rinke Writing by Kirsti Knolle and Madeline Chambers Editing by Clelia Oziel and Mark Potter)