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Germany signs energy partnership with Qatar

May 20, 2022

As Berlin seeks to ween itself off Russian energy sources, Chancellor Scholz has said Qatar "plays an important role" in energy policy. The visiting Emir of Qatar has confirmed could start LNG deliveries by 2024.

Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Olaf Scholz at a press conference in Berlin
Qatar hopes to start sending liquified natural gas (LNG) to Germany in 2024Image: Michael Sohn/AP/picture alliance

Germany agreed an energy partnership with Qatar as Chancellor Olaf Scholz met with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in Berlin on Friday.

Germany is hoping to reduce its reliance on Russian energy supplies.

"The energy security issue plays an important role for us. Germany will develop its infrastructure to be in a position to import liquefied gas by ship," Scholz told journalists at a joint news conference with al-Thani in Berlin.

"It's a big step and Qatar plays an important role in our strategy," Scholz added.

Germany, Europe's largest economy, consumes around 100 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually, with 55% of that coming from Russia via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline and other smaller volumes from Netherland and Norway.

Al-Thani confirmed that Qatar plans to start supplying liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Germany in 2024.

War in Ukraine, Big Changes in Germany

LNG supply partnership

Russian oil accounted for 35% of Germany's supply before Russia invaded Ukraine in February. In April, the government said that percentage had been cut to 12%.

German Economic Minister Robert Habeck visited Qatar in March this year to announce an energy partnership between both countries.

Chancellor Scholz said Germany would build two new LNG terminals to expedite the import of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from other countries. They are expected to be completed by 2026.

Germany, for now, has rented four floating storage and regasification units.

Negotiations over LNG supplies continue

Berlin has, however, been reluctant to commit to Qatar's condition of at least a 20-year-long partnership if it wished to secure the massive LNG volumes it needs, according to Reuters reporting citing three people familiar with the matter.

Germany, which aims to cut its carbon emissions by 88% by 2040, also has plans to switch to a green hydrogen economy in the long run.

Qatar, the world's largest LNG supplier, has specified terms like a destination clause that would prevent Berlin from rerouting the gas to other EU countries, according to Reuters.

The European Union opposes the measure too.

rm/kb (Reuters, AP, AFP)