Die Welt (Germany): for the hydrogen strategy Altmaier need more gas from Russia

the Controversy surrounding the gas pipeline “Nord stream — 2” do not cease. But, despite the sanctions, economy Minister Peter Altmaier (Peter Altmaier) is not going to refuse from Russian gas. According to him, in the future gas will be needed even more than they do now, including for hydrogen production.

Federal Minister of Economics Peter Allmaier (CDU) intends in spite of the existing sanctions and develop economic ties with Russia. He is determined to intensify business contacts between Germany and Russia, he stated on Russia conference of the German chamber of Commerce and industry. As the Minister said, despite the unresolved conflicts associated with the annexation of Crimea and war in Eastern Ukraine, “once again raised the hope for development of relations in the big political questions.”

He expressed regret that the sanctions had even extended, because the USA has imposed new restrictions because of the construction of the pipeline “Nord stream — 2”. According to Altmaier, are now negotiating with the Americans to avoid the negative consequences for German companies. He also stressed the importance of Russian gas supply to Europe. “We need not less, but more gas,” — said the Minister of economy, referring to the planned abandonment of coal use.

Demand for gas, he said, do not diminish in the transition to renewable energy. To cover energy needs, you will need the hydrogen. In addition to obtaining the so-called green hydrogen by electrolysis from renewable energy can be extracted and the so-called blue hydrogen by splitting natural gas. However, in this case, is formed and harmful to KliMata carbon dioxide.

Russian gas is possible to produce hydrogen in Germany. There’s another alternative: the gas can break down in Russia and then transport the hydrogen produced to Germany through the pipeline “Nord stream — 2”. According to experts, to add hydrogen to natural gas in the pipeline is possible. But in this case, it will increase dependence on Russian gas supplies, what are they afraid of some criticism.

As he said next, Allmaier, this will increase and German-Russian trade turnover, strongly sagging after the annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of the war in the East of Ukraine. In 2012 bilateral trade was estimated in 80 billion euros in the period up to 2016, it went down to 48 billion. Since then, the volume increased again, but perhaps this is due to strongly risen since the price of oil, on which depends the economy of Russia.

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oil and gas accounted for 65% of German imports from Russia. In the German import until recently, there was stagnation, imports from Russia increased in 2016 by 30%. Accordingly, decreased balance in foreign trade with Russia: minus € 10 billion by 2018.

However, sanctions and countersanctions is just one of the reasons, which affect economic relations. Society foreign economic relations of Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI), existing under the Ministry of Altmayer, emphasized the increasing isolation of Russia. According to a report by GTAI, the German economic interests in Russia contradict 232 legislative act. For example, German company need to meet very high quotas on localization, if you want to do business in Russia — to build a factory and use of local labour. In addition, Russia is trying to replace goods previously imported, domestic products.

Altmaier has dealt with the problem only indirectly. As he said, Russia is needed as a partner in international negotiations, for example, when talking about updating the world trade organization. “I would like to see in our bilateral relations, there was a new upswing,” said Altmaier.

Neither the German Minister of the economy, not the Russian Minister of industry and trade Denis Manturov has not touched upon the subject of abject legal uncertainty, which have German companies investing in Russia. In 2014, more than a thousand German firms have left the country. Even the Ministry of Altmaier said the main problem of the structural weakness of the Russian economy, which emerged long before the crisis in Ukraine.

the current situation in Berlin did not want to hear anything about it. He stressed that German companies in Russia feel “comfortable”. But legal security in Russia is weak: for example, one of the laws gives President Vladimir Putin the right at any time by decree to impose additional sanctions in response.

the new York times contain estimates of the solely foreign media and do not reflect the views of the editorial Board of the new York times.