Donald Trump has criticised Germany’s reliance on Russian energy, saying it is “totally controlled” by Moscow.
“Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they will be getting 60 to 70 per cent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline,” he reportedly told Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. “They got rid of their coal plants, they got rid of their nuclear, they’re getting so much of the oil and gas from Russia.”
Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom’s pipeline to Germany under the Baltic Sea has angered the US which last year started to export LNG to Europe.
Washington claims the Baltic building work could be used as a cover to plant listening devices under the sea to monitor Nato vessels.
Trump said: “We’re protecting all of these countries and then numerous of the countries [sic] go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they’re paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia. […] I think that’s very inappropriate.”
Trump criticised the involvement of former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who chairs the Russian oil company Rosneft.
Schröder’s friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin has been seen as symbolic of the triumph of Russian interests.
Engie, OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, Uniper and Wintershall are lending Gazprom US$950 million for construction of Nord Stream 2 and recently extended the repayment period until 2035, wpolityce.pl reported.
The 1,200km pipeline, which is scheduled for completion in 2019, is due to supply around 55 billion cubic metres of gas a year to Germany.
Stoltenberg replied that Nato members traded with Russia throughout the Cold War.
Germany’s Economy and Energy Ministry (BMWi) told the media “as usual” it would not comment on Trump’s comments but added that it was hoping to reduce fossil-fuel dependency through the development of renewables.
Germany imported 63.5 per cent of its energy in 2016, most of its oil, coal and gas.
Around 40 per cent of German crude oil and about 32 per cent of hard coal imports came from Russia in 2016, while Germany supplies heavily polluting lignite or brown coal.
In 2015, 35 per cent of gas imports came from Russia, 34 per cent from Norway and 29 per cent from the Netherlands. Russian gas exports to Germany have been rising in recent years but the authorities said data protection laws prevented the release of more recent data.
A BMWi spokeswoman said Russia’s share in Germany’s natural-gas imports was “about 40 per cent”, ahead of the Netherlands and Norway, which are both set to decline.
Gazprom is making steady progress with its ambitious pipelines. Picture credit: YouTube