According to Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens), Germany is reducing its dependence on Russian energy imports “at a rapid pace”. There is progress in oil and coal in particular. “Companies let contracts with Russian suppliers expire, don’t renew them and switch to other suppliers. And that at an incredible rate.”
By the middle of this year, “Russian oil imports to Germany are expected to be halved,” Habeck said on Friday in Berlin. By the end of the year, the aim is to be “almost independent” of Russian oil. The dependence on coal will drop from 50 to around 25 percent in the coming weeks, Habeck said. By autumn it will be possible to become independent of Russian hard coal.
Habeck excludes “immediate embargo”
With gas, the process takes a little longer. The Economics Minister ruled out an “immediate embargo” due to “significant economic consequences”. “If we decide it ourselves, we have to take responsibility for it ourselves,” said Habeck. But that doesn’t mean that Germany isn’t preparing for it. You act without “hanging it on the big bell”. There is still no supply bottleneck in Germany. “We don’t have to be blackmailed,” said Habeck, referring to threats from Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin.
According to a report by “Spiegel”, the Ministry of Economic Affairs has opted for three floating liquid gas terminals via the suppliers RWE and Uniper. The companies are currently in contract negotiations for three of these special ships, with which liquid gas can be taken from tankers and turned back into gaseous form. “The federal government is currently examining possible locations on the North Sea and Baltic Sea where these can be used at short notice – in some cases as early as the winter of 2022/23,” writes the ministry.
The dependency on Russian natural gas was only 40 percent at the end of this month instead of the previous 55 percent, said Habeck. A good part has been replaced by LNG supplies. According to the Economics Ministry, the new terminals could bring 7.5 billion cubic meters of gas from other regions of the world as early as next winter. Savings in gas consumption, including replacing gas-fired power plants with coal-fired power plants, could “reduce the Russian share of gas to around 30 percent by the end of the year.”
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