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Germany: Stopping Russian oil before late summer is ‘realistic’

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FILE – A Shell chemical plant is reported in Wesseling, near Cologne, Germany, on April 6, 2022. Germany says it is making progress in getting rid of Russian fossil fuels and expects to be completely independent of crude oil imports from Russia before late summer. Economy and Climate Secretary Robert Habeck said Sunday that Europe’s largest economy has reduced the share of Russian imports in its energy consumption to 12 percent for oil, 8 percent for coal and 35 percent for natural gas. (AP Photo / Martin Meissner, Fil)

AP

Germany says it is making progress in accustoming itself to Russian fossil fuels and expects to be completely independent of Russian crude oil imports in late summer.

Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck said on Sunday that Europe’s largest economy has reduced its share of Russian energy imports to 12% for oil, 8% for coal and 35% for natural gas. Germany has been under strong pressure from Ukraine and other nations in Europe to cut energy imports from Russia, which are worth billions of euros, helping to fill Russian President Vladimir Putin’s coffin.

“All of these steps that we are taking require a tremendous joint effort from all actors, and they also mean costs that are felt by both the economy and consumers,” Habeck said in a statement. “But they are necessary if we no longer want to be blackmailed by Russia.”

The announcement comes as the whole EU is considering an embargo on Russian oil following a decision to ban Russian coal imports from August. The bloc pays Russia $ 850 million a day for oil and natural gas, and Germany is one of the country’s largest importers of Russian energy.

Germany has managed to switch to oil and coal imports from other countries in a relatively short time, which means that “the end of dependence on Russian crude oil imports in late summer is realistic,” Habeck’s ministry said.

Getting used to German from Russian natural gas is a far greater challenge.

Before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Germany received more than half of its natural gas imports from Russia. That share is now down to 35%, partly due to increased purchases from Norway and the Netherlands, the ministry states.

To further reduce Russian imports, Germany plans to accelerate the construction of liquefied natural gas or LNG terminals. The Ministry of Energy and Climate said that Germany aims to put more floating LNG terminals into operation already this year or next year. It’s an ambitious timeline that the ministry acknowledged “requires a tremendous commitment from everyone involved.”

Germany has opposed calls for an EU boycott of Russian natural gas. It also looked with concern last week, when Moscow immediately stopped gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria after rejecting Russian demands to pay for gas in rubles. European officials called these actions by Russia “energy blackmail”.

Germany’s central bank has said a total cut in Russian gas could mean 5 percentage points of lost economic production and higher inflation.

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