How Germany reduced its dependence on Russian gas by 20% in two months

According to figures from the latest energy security progress report published on May 1 by the Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK), Germany has managed to reduce its dependence on Russian gas by 20% in two months. In mid-April, 35% of supplies came from Russia, compared to 55% before the start of the war in Ukraine.

According to the statistics of the Federal Network Agency, this decrease is due to the almost complete halt in deliveries via the Yamal pipeline, passing through Poland, which was already a very small minority in the supply of gas, while those of the Nord Stream 1 and Net4Gas gas pipelines (through the Czech Republic) show a slight inflection. At the same time, the country says it has increased its purchases of natural gas from Norway and the Netherlands, as well as imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) “significantly” . However, the figures were not specified.

According to figures from the latest energy security progress report published on May 1 by the Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK), Germany has managed to reduce its dependence on Russian gas by 20% in two months. In mid-April, 35% of supplies came from Russia, compared to 55% before the start of the war in Ukraine.

According to the statistics of the Federal Network Agency, this decrease is due to the almost complete halt in deliveries via the Yamal pipeline, passing through Poland, which was already a very small minority in the supply of gas, while those of the Nord Stream 1 and Net4Gas gas pipelines (through the Czech Republic) show a slight inflection. At the same time, the country says it has increased its purchases of natural gas from Norway and the Netherlands, as well as imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) “significantly” . However, the figures were not specified.

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Four LNG terminals instead of three

To continue this momentum, the federal government has confirmed the construction of four LNG import terminals on its coasts, and no longer three as initially planned, for 2.94 billion euros in public subsidies. According to BMWK, the first terminal in Wilhelmshaven, whose construction started at the end of April, could be put into service this year. The next in Brunsbüttel, with a capacity of eight billion cubic meters, will be in 2023. The location of the last two has not yet been decided.

However, it will be very difficult to do without Russian gas completely before 2024. In 2021, Germany bought 46 billion m3 of gas from its former partner. In the short term, the country has secured a contract for 1 billion m3 of LNG with the Netherlands for 2022 and hopes that 7.5 billion m3 will be able to transit from next winter through the Wilhelmshaven terminal. Eventually, the four terminals will be able to represent 33 billion m3 of liquefied gas.

savings efforts

The other pillar of the policy of reducing dependence on Russian imports is based on energy savings requested from households and businesses, as well as the acceleration of programs to insulate buildings and convert collective heating into pumps. in heat. These measures could represent a 30% drop in the share of Russian gas in German consumption by the end of the year. “All these steps require a huge joint effort on the part of everyone, recognized Robert Habeck, Minister of Economy and Climate Protection (Greens). They also imply cost increases felt by businesses and consumers alike.”

Already hard hit by the effects of the war in Ukraine on supply chains, small businesses are highly exposed to rising energy prices. This is why Robert Habeck promised them that special credits from the public bank KfW would be put in place this week, as well as federal subsidies, without specifying the content. He estimates that 4,000 SMEs could use it.

Reduction in oil imports

Germany is also trying to drastically reduce its imports of Russian oil, in the event of a European embargo. These have fallen from 35% before the start of the conflict to 12% today. But several refineries in the east of the country still depend heavily on these deliveries, in particular that of Schwedt (Brandenburg) whose supplies come 100% from Russia. “From a technical point of view, an alternative route via the port of Rostock in Germany and Gdansk in Poland would be possible,  notes the report from the Ministry of Economy and Climate Protection. But as the Schwedt site is majority owned by the Russian public group Rosneft, it is unlikely that the contracts will be broken voluntarily. It is unfortunate that, despite the Crimean war in 2014, a Russian energy group was able to gain such strong influence over the national procurement strategy. The federal government is now working to resolve this situation. For its part, Total, which operates the Leuna refinery (Saxony-Anhalt )  , has already modified its contracts to reduce its Russian imports by half in favor of Poland.

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SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

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