21 Mar 2022, 12:02
Julian Wettengel

Germany agrees energy deal with Qatar to lessen dependence on Russian gas supply

Clean Energy Wire / ARD

Germany’s economy and climate minister Robert Habeck has launched an energy partnership with the Emir of Qatar which includes both the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and cooperation on renewables, the economy ministry said. “It’s the Ukraine crisis which has brought me here – the attempt to wean ourselves off Russian coal, oil and gas as quickly as possible,” said Habeck in a video message on Twitter from his trip together with German company representatives. As a top global LNG supplier, Qatar could play an important role for Germany and the government. “The good news is that [the gas] will be made available. Now it is up to the companies to sign the contracts,” said Habeck. After years of stalled talks between Qatar and German companies, a “political push” had become necessary, which his team provided, Habeck told public broadcaster ARD. Overall, Germany would still need gas from Russia for some time. But the country should introduce an “effective gas reduction strategy”, he added, naming building insulation and a stop to new gas heating systems as possible elements. The minister also said he sensed “great open-mindedness” in Qatar when it comes to the energy transition in Germany, without providing details.

Habeck continued his trip with a visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he also agreed on intensified energy cooperation, with a focus on green hydrogen production. First deliveries to Germany could happen as early as this year, the ministry said, adding that existing cooperation projects on hydrogen production already date back to 2017.  “A faster expansion of hydrogen supply chains is a key element for the transition to sustainable energy,” Habeck said, adding he would welcome cooperation both by companies and researchers from Germany and the UAE. Siemens Energy, Lufthansa and the Emirati company Masdar are working on the "Green Falcon" project with the aim to produce climate-friendly synthetic aviation fuel, reported ARD.

The war in Ukraine forces Germany to radically rethink its energy policy, given that the country is heavily dependent on Russian fossil fuels. In first reactions, Germany put the contentious Nord Stream 2 pipeline project on hold, announced the creation of strategic coal and gas reserves, and committed to building terminals for the import of LNG. Germany aims to use up to 3 million tonnes of green hydrogen per year by 2030 and 11 million tonnes by 2050, most of which will have to be imported.

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