Trump lashes out at Nord Stream 2, says Germany is “totally controlled” by Russia
US President Donald Trump has lambasted the German reliance on Russian energy resources, saying the country is “totally controlled by” and “captive of” the fossil fuel exporting giant, according to international media reports. “Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they will be getting 60-70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline,” he told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels. “They got rid of their coal plants, they got rid of their nuclear, they’re getting so much of the oil and gas from Russia.” Russian gas company Gazprom is currently building Nord Stream 2, a contentious new gas pipeline, which will connect Germany with Russia via the Baltic Sea. Speaking ahead of the summit of the transatlantic military alliance, the US president said: “We’re protecting all of these countries and then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they’re paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia. […] I think that’s very inappropriate.” Trump also criticised the involvement of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of Russian oil company Rosneft. Stoltenberg pointed out that even at the height of the cold war, NATO countries were trading with Russia, too. Trump reiterated his demand that Germany increase its NATO spending to two percent of GDP.
Bilateral Breakfast with NATO Secretary General in Brussels, Belgium... pic.twitter.com/l0EP3lzhCM— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2018
While it was unclear what Donald Trump was exactly referring to, none of the figures on German-Russian energy trade add up to anything close to the US president's numbers. The German Economy and Energy Ministry (BMWi) said “as usual” it would not comment on the US president’s remarks. However, a ministry spokeswoman told the Clean Energy Wire that the German government’s aim “is to reduce the dependence on fossil fuel imports – partly by pursuing the energy transition and increasing the share of renewables.”
Germany needed to import 63.5 percent of the energy it consumed in 2016, most of it oil, coal and gas. 40 percent of German crude oil and about 32 percent of hard coal imports came from Russia in 2016, while Germany uses its own lignite. Due to data privacy regulations, BAFA stopped publishing natural gas import volumes by country in 2016. However, it can be assumed that Russia, Norway and the Netherlands continue to be the main suppliers, according to the BGR. In 2015, 35 percent of gas imports came from Russia, 34 percent from Norway and 29 percent from the Netherlands. Russian gas exports to Germany have been on the rise in recent years.
The energy ministry spokeswoman said Germany’s energy supply security is high and the country disposes of a “diversified structure” for sourcing oil and gas. “Germany has the highest gas storage capacities in the EU,” she specified, adding that also the pipeline structure relies on several different supply routes. She put Russia’s share in German natural gas imports at “about 40 percent,” ahead of the Netherlands and Norway.
Watch a video of the statements in English here.
For background, see the CLEW dossier The role of gas in Germany’s energy transition and the factsheet Germany’s dependence on fossil imported fossil fuels.