Lack of Russian gas can bring German industry to standstill – minister

Lazy eyes listen


Germany would have to reduce or perhaps shut down its industrial capacity if Russian natural gas exports through Ukraine cease next year, Economy Minister Robert Habeck warned on Monday.

“There is no secure scenario for how things will turn out,” Habeck stated at the Ostdeutsches Wirtschaftsforum (OWF), an economic conference in Bad Saarow. Policymakers in Berlin must avoid “making the same mistake again” by presuming that energy shortages will have no effect on the economy, according to Bloomberg.

Despite Kiev’s accusations of aggression, Russia continues to honor the gas distribution contract and pay Ukraine transit payments. However, given the current situation, it is quite doubtful that the contract would be renewed when it expires near the end of 2024.

While Berlin claimed to have stopped importing Russian gas in January, other EU countries continue to rely on Moscow for their energy needs. If Austria, Slovakia, Italy, and Hungary are shut off, the EU’s gas-sharing laws would oblige Germany to rush to their help, causing complications for industrial users, according to Habeck.

Habeck stated that new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals on the Baltic coast were “essential” for Berlin to import gas from the United States and the Middle East. Local citizens and environmental groups have attempted to halt building.

Habeck had been a vocal supporter of alternative energy sources since Russia commenced its military action in Ukraine in February 2022. The Green Party lawmaker became famous for recommending Germans to take fewer and shorter showers in order to “annoy” Russian President Vladimir Putin by conserving hot water.

“Germany developed a business model that was largely based on dependence on cheap Russian gas,” Habeck told reporters last August, saying that this also generated reliance on the “enemy” of international law and liberal democracy. That approach has “failed, and it is not coming back,” he declared.

Five weeks later, a series of underwater explosions destroyed the Nord Stream pipelines, which transport Russian natural gas to Germany. American journalist Seymour Hersh has accused the US of ordering and carrying out the sabotage, while Washington and its allies have tried to blame Moscow or speculate on “pro-Ukrainian groups” that may have carried it out, with or without Kiev’s official approval.