Berlin used to import around half of its gas and more than a third of its oil from the sanctions-hit nation
Gas supplies from Russia have contributed to boost the growth of Germany’s industry, Michael Lewis, the new chief executive at that EU nation’s major utility company Uniper, has said.
Supplies of Russian gas and oil to the EU’s biggest economy were either significantly reduced or entirely halted following the military operation in Ukraine, as Brussels imposed round after round of anti-Russia sanctions, while Moscow retaliated by slashing fuel deliveries and imposing a new payment system.
“Ties with Russia were successful for Germany,” Lewis said earlier this week, in an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt.
“Cheap gas from Russia contributed to the development of German industry,” he said, in response to a question on whether the country’s poor preparation for the previous winter was connected to the company’s relations with Russia
According to the chief executive, the current conflict in Ukraine has caused the utility “to diversify its gas profile.”
“In the future, we are planning to further diversify our portfolio by turning to the US, the Middle East, Australia and Azerbaijan,” he added.
At the same time, Lewis pointed out, Germany is currently prepared for the upcoming cold season much better than for the last one.
“Gas storage facilities are more full than they were last year,” he said. “Moreover, Germany has built [Liquefied Natural Gas] terminals, such as the one in Wilhelmshaven, and the demand for natural gas has decreased.”
The Uniper CEO stressed, however, that a lot will depend on demand and on weather conditions.
According to Lewis, Uniper is planning to invest over €8 billion (over $8.8 billion) in green energy by 2030, to achieve zero-carbon-dioxide emission by 2040, and to stop using coal for electric power generation by as soon as 2029.
He highlighted that energy transition cannot be quick, adding that Germany would need gas for at least 15 years.
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August 05, 2023 at 04:33PM