Germany and Norway are considering building a hydrogen pipeline linking the two countries to reduce their dependence on Russian energy, Bloomberg News reported on the 16th. While countries such as the United States recently imposed high-strength economic sanctions on Russia, which invaded Ukraine, voices of self-reflection are growing not only in the international community but also in Germany, which is lukewarm about sanctions because it is caught up in Russian natural gas.
Germanys Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Climate Robert Havek and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Garsture hold a press conference after their bilateral meeting in Oslo, Norway, on the 16th. /Reuters Yonhap News
After their meeting in Oslo, Norway, German Deputy Prime Minister Robert Havek and Minister of Economy and Climate and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Garsture issued a joint statement on the same day and announced that “a feasibility study for the green hydrogen pipeline project will be carried out soon.” The two sides said, “It is very important to strive to develop Europes own energy sources that can replace Russian gas and crude oil over the next several years, and to develop related infrastructure.”
Norwegian state energy company Equinor has announced that it will increase natural gas production over the next several months and supply more gas to Europe this summer. To this end, we plan to postpone some maintenance and collaborate with Gasco, a gas pipeline operator. 95% of the natural gas produced by Norway is exported to Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Belgium through subsea pipelines. A gas pipeline linking Norway and Poland is also expected to be completed within this year.
In addition, as the Norwegian government raises production permits, the production of the Oseberg and Hedron fields will increase by 1 billion cubic meters and 400 million cubic meters, respectively, Reuters reported. The company said, “1.4 billion cubic meters of gas is enough to meet the annual gas demand of 1.4 million households in Europe. “He said.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. /AFP Yonhap News
The joint plan comes after the German government announced late last month that it would strengthen gas and coal storage facilities to reduce the risk of supply cuts. Prime Minister Olaf Scholz said he would significantly increase the purchase of new liquefied natural gas and speed up the construction of LNG terminals to reduce dependence on Russias energy, which has emerged as the “biggest risk.” Earlier this month, the European Union announced that it would seek a way to cut Russian gas imports by 80% this year.
According to Bloomberg, 155 billion cubic meters or 40% of the annual gas use of the 27 EU member states was imported from Russia last year, and in 2020, about 70% of Russian imports were oil and gas. In particular, Germany, the EUs largest economy, said that it imports 55% of its gas imports, about half of its coal, and a third of its crude oil from Russia. In the midst of this, with the Ukraine crisis as an opportunity, a consensus was formed across Europe that reliance on Russian energy should be reduced.
Russia also has the highest ratio of Germanys total natural gas supply. According to data analysis company ICIS, Russian gas accounted for 32% of Germanys gas supply as of December last year. The government stockpile is 22%, and Norways imports are 20%. According to Reuters, the German government is trying to alleviate the weight previously shifted to Russia by significantly increasing its energy trade with Norway, the second largest importer after Russia.
Germany, meanwhile, rejected calls from the U.S. and Ukraine to ban Russian gas and oil imports. However, he said that he would actively participate in sanctions for the rest of the country except for the energy sector. Prime Minister Scholz said, “Currently, there is no other option other than Russia to secure energy for Europes heating, transportation, electricity and industry.