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Germany step closer to ‘Putin-free’ energy

Germany and Qatar have agreed upon a long-term energy partnership, a step towards providing Germany with “Putin-free” energy, German Economic Minister Robert Habeck says.

Habeck’s comments came after a meeting with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, part of a two-nation tour the minister is conducting in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Europe’s desire to distance itself from Russia.

“The day has developed a strong dynamic,” said Habeck, saying the emir had pledged more support than Germany had ever expected.

“Although we might still need Russian gas this year, in the future it won’t be so any more. And this is only the start.”

Russia has until now provided 55 per cent of Germany’s fossil fuel imports. It was in the middle of finalising an internationally-condemned pipeline from Russia when Moscow began threatening Ukraine.

But that has all changed since the February 24 invasion, with Germany looking at any and all options to wean itself off Russian supplies.

However, Habeck has also warned Germans it could take time, which is why Germany has refused to turn off the taps to Russian gas and oil for now.

Following the meeting in Doha, business officials travelling with Habeck – including officials from thyssenkrupp, Bayer, Siemens Energy and RWE – will now work out the details with their Qatari counterparts.

The deal, says Habeck, does not focus solely on liquefied natural gas (LNG) deliveries, but also on developing renewable energy projects and measures promoting energy efficiency, areas where German companies had a lot to offer.

“The path consists of many milestones,” said Habeck. It also carries benefits for Qatar, which exports mostly to Asia and has been looking to diversify.

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