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14th Aug 2022

Germany to quit Russian coal on 1 August, oil on 31 December

  • Jörg Kukies meeting with India's minister of power Raj Kumar Singhat the Sydney Energy Forum (Photo: Twitter)
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Germany will end purchases of Russian coal on 1 August and quit Russian oil on 31 December, as the country aims to reduce its dependence on Russian fossil fuels.

"We will be off Russian coal in a few weeks," state secretary at the German chancellery Jörg Kukies said, speaking at the Sydney Energy Forum on Wednesday (13 July)

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Oil, he admitted, will be harder and require more time.

"Anyone who knows the history of the Druzhba [oil] pipeline, which was already a tool of the Soviet empire over Eastern Europe, ridding yourself of that dependence is not a trivial matter, but it is one that we will achieve in a few months," Kukies said.

In 2021, Russia provided Germany with 45 percent of its coal, 35 percent of its oil and 55 percent of its natural gas.

But the main challenge for Europe will be gas due to a lack of alternatives, according to Kukies. "We can't just wish the problem away," he said.

Germany is now rapidly developing liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminals to help replace Russian piped gas. According to Kukies the United States and Qatar could provide 30 billion cubic meters to Europe.

Kukies, the G7 and G20 sherpa of German chancellor Olaf Scholz, and the G7 allies have also worked to impose new measures to hit the Russian economy.

The US and other wealthy G7 nations, including Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy and Japan, and the European Union, agreed to explore imposing a price cap on Russian oil.

The proposal ties financial services, insurance and oil shipping to a price ceiling, and a shipper who wants to use these services must be committed to a set maximum price for Russian oil.

To build support for the measure, US treasury secretary Janet Yellen has been on a whirlwind tour in Asia this week ahead of the Friday and Saturday G20 meeting of finance leaders in Bali.

On 12 July, Yellen and Japanese finance minister Suzuki Shunichi said the two countries have agreed to explore "the feasibility of price caps where appropriate."

But other countries, including Indonesia, have noted their disagreements with Western sanctions imposed on Russia, and at the last G20 meeting in Washington in April, no joint communique was issued.

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