Germany is not in a position to completely replace Russian gas in the short term, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said late Thursday.
Responding to questions by citizens at a dialogue event in Essen, Scholz said his government will continue to take steps to break its energy dependence on Russia, but completely ceasing gas purchases from this country is not something feasible.
“We will not make this on our part, I don’t think that this will be a very responsible move. But we’re also prepared for any counter-reactions,” the Social Democrat politician said, referring to gas supply disruptions amid tensions with Russia over Ukraine.
This week, Russia halted gas deliveries to Germany via the Nord Stream pipeline, citing maintenance reasons. Several German politicians, however, accused Moscow of using gas as a weapon to exert pressure on Berlin.
Scholz underlined that Germany has already taken major steps in recent months to develop alternatives to Russian gas, and is now building liquefied natural gas terminals to import LNG from other countries.
He also said discussions were underway in Europe on building new pipelines, which could bring gas from Africa and Near East, but stressed that all these efforts would take time.
Before the war in Ukraine, Russia was supplying 55% of Germany’s natural gas, but the government has managed to reduce that reliance to 26% in June, according to official figures.
Berlin is planning to reduce this figure to a maximum of 10% by 2024 summer.