Germany's Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Friday that the country is planning to almost completely end Russian energy imports by the end of the year.
Habeck, a member of the Green Party, said the plan meant that a considerable amount of progress would be made in a short space of time, as the West is rushing to wean itself off Russian energy amidst the invasion of Ukraine. Before the war began and the subsequent heavy sanctions targeting Russia, Germany received 50% of its coal, 55% of its gas, and 35% of its oil from Moscow.
"By the middle of the year, Russian oil imports to Germany are expected to be halved. By the end of the year, we aim to be almost independent," a document published by the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action said. The plan also calls for coal deliveries from Russia to end by the autumn.
Habeck confirmed that current contracts with Russian companies to import energy will not be renewed. He also acknowledged that Germany would only be able to wean itself off Russian gas deliveries by mid-2024.
Germany looks to US, Qatar to meet energy demands
"In the past few weeks, we have undertaken intensive efforts with all the relevant actors to import fewer fossil fuels from Russia and broaden the basis of our supply," the minister told reporters. Already, he said, Russia's share of German oil imports had fallen to less than a quarter.
His statement came on the same day that US President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a sweeping new deal to increase liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from the United States to the EU.
Habeck himself recently returned from a visit to Qatar where he also secured deals for more LNG imports from the Gulf nation.
Germany is also planning to build its own LNG terminals. Currently, the gas is shipped to terminals in the Netherlands or Belgium before being transported to Germany.
es/nm (dpa, Reuters)