German chancellor to visit Saudi Arabia amid energy crisis

Olaf Scholz to visit Gulf as Germany seeks alternatives to Russian gas

Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz. AFP
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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is to visit Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states this weekend as Berlin scrambles to secure alternatives to Russian gas amid a deepening energy crisis.

The chancellor will meet Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman on Saturday, a statement released by the German embassy in the kingdom said. The leaders are set to discuss energy and renewables, regional security and “intensifying co-operation” in innovation and IT.

Mr Scholz is also expected to visit Qatar on Sunday.

Germany is one of Europe's biggest consumers of Russian energy, relying on Moscow for more than half of its natural gas imports in 2021.

Russia's decision to cut off supplies following its invasion of Ukraine in February has triggered an energy crisis across the continent, with consumers and businesses facing soaring bills as winter approaches. Moscow closed the Nord Stream 1 pipeline “indefinitely” earlier this month after previously halting gas flow to Europe on several occasions.

Measures to reduce energy consumption have already been taken across Germany. On Wednesday, Berlin announced it would nationalise gas company Uniper after it reported losses of €12 billion ($11.9bn).

Housing associations and public facilities have also been restricting access to hot water.

Economy Minister Robert Habeck visited Qatar and the UAE in March in an effort to find alternatives to Russian gas.

Updated: September 22, 2022, 12:57 PM