Germany can make it through next winter without Russian gas, says German Economy Minister Robert Habeck.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Western countries have been intensely pursuing energy sources other than Russian gas.
The boycott of Russian gas is an important factor in the West’s sanctions against a belligerent Russia.
Germany in particular is an important customer for Putin’s gas, and has often been mentioned as one of the countries that will struggle to free itself from this.
But now Germany can be ready for energy independence faster than expected, Economy Minister Habeck explains in an interview with WirtschaftsWoche on Thursday.
– If we have full storage at the turn of the year, if two of the four liquefied natural gas tankers we rent are already connected to the grid, and if we save significantly on energy, we can get through the winter to some extent even if Russian gas is cut off, says Habeck in a recent interview with WirtschaftsWoche.
Everyone must contribute
Earlier, the Minister of Economy said that Germany can not expect to be independent of Russian gas until 2024 at the earliest.
Now the Germans are working effectively to speed this up.
Last week it became known that the construction of the first liquefied natural gas terminal in Germany is already underway.
In order to become independent more quickly, it is also important that the regular German contributes, says Habeck.
– Less consumption is the most important thing when it comes to gas, Habeck says to the German newspaper.
He estimates that if industry and private individuals save ten percent of consumption, this could be crucial in freeing themselves from dependence on Russian gas.
“More efficiency is a key to Putin,” he told WirtschaftsWoche.
Sixth sanctions package
Last week, the European Commission proposed that Russian oil be phased out over the next six months, as part of a sixth sanctions package against Russia.
– Let me be clear: this will not be easy. Some member states are heavily dependent on oil from Russia, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
25 percent decline
This week, Germany has already felt the need to manage without some of the deliveries from Russia.
The German authorities announced on Wednesday a 25 percent reduction in the amount of gas coming to the country via Ukraine. This is due to the fact that Russian Gazprom has allegedly stopped deliveries to the important connection point Sokhranivka in Ukraine, and the same pipeline is the one that continues through Slovakia and the Czech Republic to Germany, according to NTB.
The decline is offset by larger gas deliveries to Germany from the Netherlands and Norway, the news agency writes.
According to Hanbeck, two of the liquefied natural gas ships that Germany has ordered from the Norwegian shipping company Höegh are estimated to cover around a quarter of Russian natural gas imports.
The Minister nevertheless warns that a gas cut will involve a financial risk.
– Even under the mentioned conditions, the gas prices will then certainly be very high and the storage tanks will be drummed at the end of the winter, he says to WirtschaftsWoche.