Germany will be able to withstand a halt of Russian natural gas supplies as long as it manages to fill up its gas storage, Economy Minister Robert Habeck told German media this week.
In an interview with WirtschaftsWoche cited by Bloomberg, Habeck explained that the country would be able to weather the effects of a potential suspension of gas supplies from Russia under three conditions: that it fills up its gas storage facilities before the next heating season begins, that it finishes adding its planned LNG import capacity, and that Germans reduce their energy consumption.
Germany has plans for four floating liquefied natural gas import terminals, and if two of these get connected to the grid before the start of the next heating season, Germany would be able to get through the winter “to some extent” in case Russia cuts off gas deliveries.
Germany is the biggest importer of Russian natural gas, which puts it in a challenging position when it comes to diversifying gas sources. Because of the readiness of the U.S. to supply Europe with LNG, Germany has started building import terminals urgently, and it has also sought to negotiate deliveries from Qatar.
Those negotiations, however, ran into a wall recently, as the two parties appeared to have major differences concerning terms such as the length of the contract and whether or not Germany would have the right to resell the gas to other European states. Qatar insists on a minimum commitment of 20 years and does not want to allow Germany to resell the gas. Germany is unwilling to make that commitment.
Meanwhile, Germany has started construction work on its first LNG import terminal, which the government hopes will be ready to take its first cargo by the end of the year.
“We have a good chance of achieving something that is actually impossible in Germany: to build an LNG terminal within about ten months and to connect it to the German gas supply,” Habeck said in comments on the start of construction of the Wilhelmshaven terminal on the North Sea coast.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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