Germany wants to reduce its Russian oil imports by half by this summer, the country's economy minister Robert Habeck told media today, as quoted by the AFP.
German companies importing oil from Russia are letting their contracts with their suppliers expire and turning to other suppliers, Habeck explained, and this has already declined, with the decline expected to accelerate to half of the previous rates of delivery by the middle of the year.
Reuters had earlier cited a report by Germany Spiegel that quoted a government memo along the same lines. A direct embargo, however, was not on the table.
"Despite the progress, an immediate embargo would still have too serious economic and social consequences," economy ministry sources told the German magazine on Thursday.
European Union governments earlier this week met to discuss an embargo on Russian oil, but the discussions have so far unsurprisingly failed to produce an agreement on such a move. Russia supplies a quarter of the crude oil the EU consumes, and banning it would be too much like the EU shooting itself in the foot, which various European officials have said the union is trying to avoid in its actions towards Russia.
Discussions are continuing, CNBC reported earlier this week, with a decision unlikely to be reached soon as some EU members openly admit they are too dependent on Russian oil and natural gas, as well.
Germany, meanwhile, has stepped up its LNG import plans. According to the memo cited by Spiegel, the government now plans to build not two but three LNG import terminals, planning to have some of them operational by next winter season.
"The German government is currently examining possible locations on the North Sea and Baltic Sea where these can be used in the short term - in some cases already for the winter of 2022/23," the memo said, according to the German magazine.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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