German Minister to visit Qatar, UAE to find substitutes for Russian gas

In the wake of the Ukraine conflict, German Economic Minister Robert Habeck is due to fly to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this weekend to find alternatives to the Russian gas supply.

Qatar is one of the major exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) globally, which could help Europe reduce its dependency on Russian energy.

Moreover, many countries are reliant on Russian energy imports as Germany, Europe’s largest economy, which purchased almost 55% of its natural gas from Russia before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Before leaving for Qatar and UAE, the Minister said, “On the one hand, we need more liquefied natural gas, temporarily and in the short term, and we want this to arrive at our own German terminals.”

“On the other side,” he added, “We must now accelerate the transition from conventional natural gas to green hydrogen.”

According to Habeck, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are of “central importance” in attaining those goals.

On Saturday, the Green Party’s economy minister, who also holds the energy and climate change ministries, will go to Qatar to meet with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani before heading towards UAE on Sunday to meet with other ministers.

Earlier this month, the Minister visited key gas exporter Norway and LNG supplier the United States.

“I am convinced that the outcome of the discussions with Norway, the US, Canada, Qatar will lead us to more liquefied gas coming to Europe and Germany,” told Habeck.

Germany and Norway have also agreed to investigate the potential of constructing a hydrogen pipeline between them.

Berlin has been chastised for resisting a Russian oil and gas boycott as part of sanctions against Russia, saying that it will cripple the German economy and drive up already-high energy prices.

Nonetheless, Germany plans to phase out most Russian oil imports by the end of the year, but it will take longer to wean itself off Russian gas.

Zurab Kvaratskhelia

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