Germany says it is ready to phase out Russian oil and coal by the end of 2022, by mid-2024 in favor of gas

Criticized since the start of the war in Ukraine for opposing an immediate embargo on Russian hydrocarbons, on which it is heavily dependent, Germany is nonetheless advancing a strategy of bypassing Russian energy resources. Thus, this Friday, March 25, he announced his schedule for reducing imports, and then completely eliminating them. “The first important steps have been taken to free us from the clutches of Russian imports,” said Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck.

“By the middle of the year, Russian oil imports to Germany should be halved, by the end of the year we are striving for almost independence”clarifies his ministry, adding that “By autumn we can become globally independent of Russian coal”.

Before the invasion of Ukraine, Germany imported a third of its oil and about 45% of its coal from Russia, according to German government statistics. But now the companies buying hydrocarbons “to allow the expiration of contracts with Russian suppliers, not to renew them and to turn to other suppliers”, according to the government.

In a report released by Reuters midweek, the country planned to pause the planned shutdown of some coal-fired power plants to reduce its reliance on Russian fossil fuels as well as electricity bills. “In this context, the dismantling of coal-fired power plants may be suspended until further notice after analysis.” led by the sector regulator, we can read in this project.

Germany may expand coal-fired power plants to reduce dependence on Russian gas

Gas target for mid-2024

For gas, on which the country depended more than half – from 50% to 75%, according to Eurostat – its natural gas importshowever, this process should be longer. “There is still a long way to go, and only at the cost of collective efforts will we be able to do without Russian gas,” considers the government. According to Berlin, Germany can be “largely independent” Russian gas “by mid-2024”. The country has already reduced its imports in recent weeks, which currently stands at just 40%.

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Gas is crucial for the country as it heats 50% of dwellings and accounts for 26.7% of primary energy consumption. The use of this energy should even increase as part of the energy transition to replace nuclear power and coal as a reserve for renewables.

In early March, the country allocated 1.5 billion euros for bulk purchases of liquefied natural gas, delivered by sea and coming from diversified producers such as Qatar or the United States. But Germany currently does not have a terminal to transport this gas and is therefore dependent on the infrastructure located near its European neighbors.

Therefore, three floating LNG terminals, huge boats capable of receiving liquefied gas on the coast, are to be reserved by Uniper and RWE at the request of the government, the ministry said on Thursday.

Germany fears it will run out of gas next winter

The United States will increase LNG supplies to Europe

How to reduce the EU’s dependence on Russian hydrocarbons is also part of the G27 leaders’ discussions, which have been meeting in Brussels since yesterday. They also finalized an agreement with the US this Friday, March 15, for additional US supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe.

“The United States will work with its international partners and will do everything possible to be able to deliver an additional 15 billion cubic meters of LNG to the European market in 2022, with additional increases expected in the future,” – said in a briefing published by the White House.

In the long term, the goal is for an additional volume of US LNG supplies to be about 50 billion cubic meters per year, the document specifies.

Payment for Russian gas in rubles: for Poland “no”

The fact remains that Moscow continues to supply the Old Continent abundantly with hydrocarbons, which in return have provided it with almost 17 billion euros since the start of the conflict in Ukraine on February 24th. Even more than usual. According to the latest estimates by the European analytical center Bruegel, which relies on data from the European Network of Gas Transportation System Operators (Enstog), Russia sold more than 2,600 million cubic meters of gas to the EU last week against 1,700 million cubic meters. ” Only “ the first seven days of January. And even though the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project has been put on hold, its twin Nord Stream 1 (which bypasses Ukraine via the Baltic Sea) has performed just as well as it did this time last year. transporting more than 170 million cubic meters daily.

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(with agencies)