Qatar and Germany have signed a declaration to deepen their energy partnership, with a focus on trade in hydrogen and liquefied natural gas (LNG), as Europe’s biggest economy looks for alternative supplies amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The deal reached on Friday foresees regular meetings between authorities from both countries and creates a working group focused on developing trade relations in LNG and hydrogen, as well as a working group devoted to renewable energy.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the Gulf state, one of the world’s biggest LNG exporters, would play a central role in Germany’s strategy to diversify away from Russian imports.
“The energy security issue plays an important role for us. Germany will develop its infrastructure to be in a position to import liquefied gas by ship,” Scholz told journalists at a joint news conference with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Berlin.
Russia is currently the largest supplier of gas to Germany, and Berlin has launched several initiatives to lessen its energy dependence on Moscow since it launched its offensive against Ukraine in late February.
Qatar’s leader confirmed that Doha plans to start supplying LNG to Germany in 2024 and described Europe as an “interesting” gas market.
Al Thani held talks with officials from German utilities RWE and Uniper over long-term gas supply deals during his visit.
Roudi Baroudi, CEO of Qatar Energy and Environment Holding, a consultancy, said Doha was ready to meet demand for LNG from Germany in addition to supplying existing customers, citing the ongoing expansion of its giant North Field natural gas field.
“Qatar … in 2024 could definitely deliver 20-25 percent of Germany’s total gas consumption,” he told Al Jazeera, adding that the expansion project put the country on track to further increase global sales more generally in the coming years.
The North Field lies off Qatar’s northeastern coastline in the Persian Gulf and covers an area of more than 6,000 square kilometres, equivalent to about half the area of the country’s entire landmass.