German minister headed for Qatar in search of new gas deals
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck is embarking on a mission to wean his country off Russian gas imports, with the first leg of his Gulf visit set to begin on Saturday, reported dpa.
Before his departure, Habeck highlighted concerns about heating and electricity in Germany next winter.
"If we don't receive further gas supplies next winter, and the deliveries from Russia are capped or stopped, we wouldn't have enough to keep all our houses warm and to keep all our industry running," he said.
In Qatar, one of the world's largest exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG), Habeck is scheduled to meet with the emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and government ministers.
A large proportion of Qatar's LNG currently goes to Asia.
The German minister will be accompanied by a high-ranking business delegation.
Further talks are planned in Qatar on Saturday before Habeck departs for the United Arab Emirates, where he is scheduled to meet with ministers on Monday.
The trip is part of efforts to diversify German gas imports as the nation seeks to reduce its dependency on Russia in light of the Ukraine war. Habeck travelled to Norway on a similar mission earlier in the week.
While Germany wants alternative LNG sources in the short term, Habeck's long-term goal is to switch to cleaner energy sources. For that reason, the UAE is considered an important partner as a potential source of "green" hydrogen.
Habeck's ministry has stressed that human rights issues will also be addressed during the visits.