In an interview with the daily Der Tagesspiegel, the CEO of the main gas vendor in the German capital GASAG, Gerhard Holtmeier, has predicted that the European powerhouse will need natural gas until 2035 or 2040. He noted that it is only possible to develop a carbon-free economy and society in Germany with the gas industry and dismissed the claim that gas consumption in the country is declining, saying that his company’s gas sales have risen in recent years (with an adjustment for seasonal fluctuations).
Under these circumstances, he has backed the Russian-European gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2, noting that every new delivery route is good for supply security and price stability.
“We have always done well in Germany with the diversification of supply. If gas comes from Austria and Italy, Norway and Russia and, through Austria and Italy, also from Africa, then we are sure to have attractive prices ensure us”, he explained his endorsement of the venture facing pressure from the US and some of its allies in the EU.
He also revealed that since Germany has a well-developed gas pipeline infrastructure from the North, East and South, they do not really need any terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the moment. He revealed that although Germany’s largest natural gas transportation company Ruhrgas (which was merged and ceased to exist in 2013) had secured a property in the seaport of Bremerhaven decades ago in order to build LNG infrastructure, a German terminal does not make any real sense now because Rotterdam with its facility is also not far away.
“And if one [an LNG terminal] is built to do the Americans a favour, then they will consider if the delivery there makes sense. Gas prices in Southeast Asia are three to four times higher than in Europe”, the top manager concluded.
The Nord Stream 2 project is a joint venture of Gazprom and five European companies: France's ENGIE, Austria's OMV, British-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, and Germany's Uniper and Wintershall. The 745-mile-long pipeline is set to run from Russia to Germany to deliver Russian gas to European consumers.
The project has met considerable opposition in Washington with President Donald Trump urging EU member states, particularly Germany, to buy American LNG instead. The US, Poland, Ukraine, and some other countries claim it is really a political instrument, although both Germany and Russia insist that Nord Stream 2 is a purely economic venture. According to media reports, the White House considering imposing new sanctions that would target the project's investors and firms employed in laying pipe for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.