German ministry wants to halve dependence on Russian oil by summer -Spiegel

Industrial facilities of the PCK Raffinerie oil refinery in Schwedt/Oder
FILE PHOTO: A chimney emits fire at the PCK Raffinerie oil refinery in Schwedt/Oder, Germany, March 7, 2022. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

March 25, 2022

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s economy ministry wants to halve the country’s dependence on Russian oil by the summer and have no Russian hard coal imports by the autumn, Der Spiegel magazine said on Friday, citing a ministry memo.

The move comes as Western nations aim to present a united front against Russia’s month-long invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, which it has called a “special operation”.

“By the middle of the year, Russian oil imports to Germany are expected to be halved,” Spiegel quoted the memo as reading. “By the end of the year, we aim to be almost independent.

“By autumn, Germany can be independent of Russian coal.”

A ministry spokesperson had no immediate comment when contacted by Reuters, but said Economy Minister Robert Habeck would address the energy dependence issue at a morning news conference.

Spiegel also quoted ministry sources as telling it, “Despite the progress, an immediate embargo would still have too serious economic and social consequences.”

Ministry officials had “optioned” three floating liquefied natural gas terminals, the magazine added.

“The German government is currently examining possible locations on the North Sea and Baltic Sea where these can be used in the short term – in some cases already for the winter of 2022/23,” it said, quoting from the memo.

(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)