Russia says it will increase military presence near western border

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BERLIN – Germany and Qatar have signed an energy partnership to expand trade in liquefied natural gas as Berlin races to wean itself off its dependence on Russian energy after Moscow invaded Ukraine.

Germany, which for years relied heavily on Russian natural gas to power vehicles and factories and heat homes, plans to build LNG terminals on its northern coast to be able to receive large shipments from exporters. such as Qatar and the United States.

During a state visit on Friday, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and German Economy Minister Robert Habeck signed a joint declaration of intent to promote energy cooperation.

“The newly established energy partnership will strengthen Germany’s supply diversification through LNG imports from Qatar,” the economy ministry said in a statement.

The two governments have not released a timetable for LNG trading. The Gulf state’s foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, told German daily Handelsblatt that he could start deliveries in 2024.

Berlin aims to end imports of Russian gas by this year. In recent weeks, Russia has accounted for 40% of Germany‘s gas deliveries, compared to 55% before the war.

“The issue of energy security is essential for us,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz said at a press conference on Friday. “Qatar plays a central role in our strategy.”

Qatar, one of the world’s largest gas exporters, is currently a sought-after supplier of LNG in a tight global market and is looking to expand its capacity.

“Whatever we can provide for Europe’s energy security, we will provide,” Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad said.

Germany and Qatar said on Friday they also aim to expand their hydrogen trade and expand cooperation in renewable energy.

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