Germany to step up plans to cut dependence on Russia gas

·2 min read

BERLIN, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Germany will make good on plans to build two liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and up its natural gas reserves to cut its dependence on Russian gas after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Sunday.

"We will do more to ensure secure energy supply for our country," he told lawmakers in a special Bundestag session called to address the Ukraine crisis.

"We must change course to overcome our dependence on imports from individual energy suppliers."

Germany has been under pressure from other Western nations to become less dependent on Russian gas, but its plans to phase out coal-fired power plants by 2030 and to shut its nuclear power plants have left it with few options.

Earlier this week Germany halted the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline project, Europe's most divisive energy project, in response to Russia's actions toward Ukraine.

Russia has since invaded Ukraine, prompting the West to slap further sanctions on Moscow and making the energy supply issue even more pressing.

"The events of the past few days have shown us that responsible, forward-looking energy policy is decisive not only for our economy and the environment. It is also decisive for our security," Scholz said on Sunday.

The quicker Germany can expand renewable energy generation, the better, he said.

In addition, Germany will increase the volume of natural gas in its storage facilities by 2 billion cubic metres (bcm) via long-term options and will buy additional natural gas on world markets in coordination with the European Union, he said.

Germany has 24 bcm of underground caverns of gas storage, which are currently around 30% full, according to industry group Gas Infrastructure Europe data.

Scholz also said on Sunday that Germany would quickly build two LNG terminals, in Brunsbuettel and Wilhelmshaven.

He had signalled his support for the construction of LNG terminals when he was finance minister and deputy chancellor in the previous government, but little progress was made.

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa and Maria Sheahan; Editing by Sarah Marsh and Jan Harvey)