Germany said on Sunday it had reached an agreement on an energy partnership with Qatar, as the European powerhouse seeks to reduce its dependence on Russia amid the invasion of Ukraine.
Robert Habeck, German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, met with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Sunday.
State-owned QatarEnergy said in a statement that the two countries would “reconnect and advance discussions on long-term LNG supply,” Reuters reported. While Qatar did not say an agreement had been reached, a German spokesperson told the media that an agreement between the nations had been finalized.
“Companies that came to Qatar with (Habeck) will now start contract negotiations with the Qatari side,” the German spokesman said, according to Reuters.
The Qatar deal comes as Germany has taken other steps to reduce its dependence on Russian energy in recent weeks.
Last month, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced the country would halt certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline after Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would recognize the sovereignty of Ukraine’s self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” – a step Putin took just before invading Ukraine.
The pipeline has been estimated to cost around $2.7 billion per year for the Russian economy and around $1.8 billion for the German economy. After Scholz pulled out of the pipeline projects, Habeck, Germany’s federal minister for economic affairs and climate action, began exploring options to reduce the country’s dependence on Russia.
“We have to admit that in the past we have been too dependent on Russian imports,” Habeck said in late February, according to Deutsche Welle. “In the medium and long term, we are going to significantly reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.”
Part of Habeck’s plan includes passing a new law that would ensure Germany’s energy sources are 80% renewable by 2030 and 100% by 2035, Deutsche Welle reported.
In the weeks following the invasion of Ukraine, Western nations sanctioned Russia, which contributed to an increase in energy prices. In the United States, which has seen record average gas prices in recent days, analysts attributed the rise to Russia’s continued offensive in Ukraine.
“Prices have soared across the country due to Russia’s war on Ukraine as sanctions cripple Russia’s ability to export crude oil, pushing gas prices up nearly 41 cents over the past seven last few days only,” GasBuddy, a company that tracks U.S. fuel prices, said in a March 5 statement.