03/30/2022 By Luda Tang
WARSAW, Poland– Poland declared steps to cut Russian oil imports by the end of 2022 on Wednesday, as Germany issued an early warning about natural gas levels and appealed to people to conserve energy during Russia’s war in Ukraine. There are concerns that Russia could stop deliveries unless the payment is in rubles.
Poland was launching the most radical plan to cut off Russian fossil fuels in the European Union, which mainly depends on Moscow for fuels used for cars, electricity, heating, and industry. But the 27-nation bloc has announced it will take steps to wean off these suppliers. Poland argues that money from oil and gas exports is fueling Russia’s war machine and that should end.
The EU now is seeking alternative sources of fossil fuels while investing in renewable energy as the long-term solution. Poland is expanding to receive deliveries from Qatar, the U.S., Norway, and other exporters. A new, Baltic pipeline bringing gas from Norway is to open at the end of this year.
In Germany, the government has contracted with several suppliers of LNG to reduce the dependence on Russia’s natural gas. Officials say they aim to end the use of Russian oil and coal this year and natural gas by mid-2024. Robert Habeck, Germany’s energy minister and vice-chancellor, said Germany’s gas storage is currently filled to about 25% capacity.
“We are in a situation where, I have to say this clearly, every kilowatt-hour of energy saved helps,” said Habeck. “And that’s why I would like to combine the triggering of the warning level with an appeal to companies and private consumers to help Germany, help Ukraine, by saving gas or energy as a whole.”