Federal Economics Minister Habeck has now confirmed the gas deal with Qatar, but otherwise does not want to say much about it. With his trip to the emirate in the spring, he only set the political framework. What does the agreement mean for Germany now? A gas market expert explains.
Qatari Energy Minister Saad Sharida al-Kaabi made the pitcher on Tuesday. Out of the blue, when no one in Germany was expecting it, he made a huge exclamation mark! In contrast to the German World Cup striker, al-Kaabi did not convert to equalize against Spain, but announced an agreement on liquid gas deliveries to Germany – from 2026 for 15 years.
It is the positive conclusion to a struggle for the much-coveted gas that was perceived as tough but actually came to a standstill. The pictures of his trip to Doha in March haunt the Federal Minister of Economics to this day. When asked by journalists at the 2022 industry press conference in Berlin, Robert Habeck has now announced: Yes, it’s true.
Habeck didn’t celebrate for it, nor did he cut out an Instagram video about it. The Vice-Chancellor merely pointed out that his trip and the associated political talks had set the framework. “The trigger for the short trip to Qatar was the development of alternative energy procurement,” clarified Habeck.
“15 years is great,” added the Economics Minister. The Green politician made it clear that there could have been longer contracts. He did not want to comment on specific details of the deal, this is a matter for the company. With a view to the term, Habeck pointed out that Germany wants to become climate-neutral by 2045. Gas consumption must be gradually reduced, he said.
The deal itself was not made between Qatar and Germany. Rather, the Qatari gas will be sold to Conoco Phillips. The US company will then deliver it from 2026 to 2041 to Brunsbüttel in northern Germany, where the infrastructure for handling and forwarding liquid gas is currently being built.
Sebastian Gulbis, partner at the consulting company Enervis, answers the most important questions:
FOCUS online: Is that a good gas deal for Germany?
Sebastian Gulbis: I think that’s good news for Germany. The deal can bring calm to the market – from 2026.
How surprising is the agreement?
Gulbis: Today’s report surprised me, especially since it was not assumed that further serious negotiations would take place here.
The contract was concluded for 15 years. Is that rather long or short?
Gulbis: It’s amazing that the trading partners agreed to such a long contract period. This has not been considered so far. Qatar has always taken the position of wanting to sign at least 20 year contracts.
How much gas comes from Qatar to Germany?
Gulbis: We’re talking about relatively manageable quantities here. 1,600 terawatt hours of gas per year came to Europe from Russia, and the Qatar deal covers around 30 terawatt hours, i.e. around three percent of German gas consumption.
What role does Conoco Philipps play exactly?
Gulbis: Conoco Philipps has secured capacity in Brunsbüttel. The company will import the gas and then resell it in Germany. Either via the stock exchange or selected trading partners. We don’t know anything about that yet.
How long does it take for the gas to get to us?
Gulbis: The gas comes from NorthFieldSouth and NorthFieldEast, is liquefied there, loaded onto LNG tankers and transported to Germany. The shipping time one way will probably be about 15 to 20 days at sea. The liquid gas is regasified in Brunsbüttel and fed into the German natural gas network.
The first German floating LNG terminals are about to start operations. The gas storage facilities are currently almost full. But liquefied natural gas should make an additional contribution. So far, Germany and other European countries have received the LNG received via the Netherlands, Belgium or France primarily from the USA.
The German gas industry sees the agreement concluded on Tuesday as a “positive signal for land-based LNG terminals”. The long-term deliveries over 15 years from 2026 will open up good prospects for these terminals, said the board of directors of the industry association Zukunft Gas, Timm Kehler, according to the announcement.
“For a long time we have been calling for not only looking at the short-term supply via the floating terminals.” The land-based terminals are of fundamental importance, especially for a later switch to green gases.
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