May 28, 2023

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Germany says it is moving to cut the cord on Russian energy

Germany says it is moving to cut the cord on Russian energy

Germany released a report on Friday showing that the country will reduce its dependence on Russian energy sooner than many think.

Robert Habeck, Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economy, said Germany expects to halve its imports of Russian oil by midsummer and is close to ending imports by the end of this year.

He said the need for Russian coal could be halved in the “coming weeks”. He estimated that Germany could be free of Russian gas by mid-2024, if all goes well.

“We have made extensive efforts in recent weeks, together with all relevant stakeholders, to import less fossil energy from Russia and expand the supply base,” said Mr. Habek.

The statements came on the day that President Biden She pledged to help the European Union break free from Russian energy, and pledged to secure an additional 15 billion cubic meters of natural gas by the end of this year.

Speaking in Berlin at a press conference after presenting a progress report on German energy securityMr. Habek said the shift away from Russian gas was happening at a “crazy pace”.

“Every supply contract that is terminated harms Putin,” he said.

Russian natural gas, which Germany receives via fixed pipelines, will be the most difficult to take off and will require LNG terminals and floating LNG tanks. The government is moving quickly to acquire both types of facilities. Germany currently imports 55 percent of its natural gas from Russia.

Germany gets about half of its coal from Russia but has recently been buying more supplies from other countries. He said the need for Russian coal could be phased out by the fall.

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Habeck’s announcement came a day after European leaders wrangling over imposing more sanctions on Russia to punish it for its invasion of Ukraine. While the United States and some eastern European countries in NATO have called for an immediate boycott of Russian fuel, Germany and a number of smaller countries have insisted that an energy boycott now would be too costly.

Mr. Habek stressed concerns about the impact of the immediate boycott.

“Even if we become more independent of Russian imports, it is too early to impose an energy embargo at this point in time,” Mr. Habek said. “The economic and social consequences will remain very serious.”

A number of opposition MPs, academics and other public figures in Germany signed an open letter, issued Thursday evening, calling for Germany to boycott Russian energy. Earlier in the week, Chancellor Olaf Schulz warned German lawmakers that halting Russian gas imports too quickly could lead to It leads to hundreds of thousands of job losses and stagnation.

“We still have a long way to go, and we will only be able to bid farewell to Russian gas through a joint show of force — the federal government, states, local authorities, businesses and private families together,” Mr. Habek said. .