Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Germany’s Finance Minister Christian Lindner asserted on Sunday that the country should rethink its energy plans. He said the government should reassess the ban on new oil and gas drilling in the North Sea to help the country wean itself off Russian energy imports, Reuters reported.
Previously, Germany’s new coalition government had announced it would not allow new permits for exploitation of natural gas and oil fields in the North Sea.
“We have to question the decision in the coalition agreement”, Lindner declared, because in light of “global market prices developments, this looks more economical.”
The German economy relies heavily on oil and gas, he said, noting that the country is planning to build its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal to diversify its supply.
Commenting on calls to lower sales tax on fuel temporarily to cushion the blow on consumers, he minister stressed that such a move would require either budget cuts or taking on new debt.
“Against the changed geopolitical background, I think it is advisable to examine the entire energy strategy of our country without any prohibitions on thinking”, he stated.
Reaching out to Qatar
Jörg Kukies, state secretary at Germany’s Ministry of Finance, held talks about energy cooperation with Qatar last week. He and Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, had “discussed bilateral cooperation, particularly in energy, and corporate investments”, he said.
Recently, the US approached Qatar, which has plans to raise its LNG production from 77 million tonnes annually to 126 million tonnes by 2027, in order to suggest it divert LNG supplies to Europe. Qatar indicated it could reroute between 10% and 15% of LNG supplies to Europe.
Last Friday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the EC is preparing a plan to overcome the EU’s dependency on Russian energy imports in the next five years.
In simikar vein, Germany’s Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Robert Habeck, had announced plans to wean Germany off Russian oil and coal in less than one year. However, since gas presented more difficulties because Germany cannot import LNG directly, his conclusion was that imposing an embargo on Russian gas immediately could cause bottlenecks, affect the economy and add to fuel inflation.