Qatar’s Energy Minister Saad Al-Kaabi said on Tuesday that it would be “almost impossible” for Europe to replace its gas imports in the event Russia decides to clamp down on supplies amid a worsening Ukraine crisis.
Moscow’s gas flows account for a sizable portion of Europe’s supplies – in 2021, 38 percent of the European Union’s natural gas was imported from Russia, according to economic think tank Bruegel.
“There is no single country that can replace that kind of volume, there isn’t the capacity to do that from LNG,” Kaabi said, referring to liquefied natural gas – natural gas transformed into a different state of matter in order for the resource to be transported or stored.
Additionally, Kaabi said that “Most of the LNG is tied to long-term contracts and destinations that are very clear. So, to replace that sum of volume that quickly is almost impossible.”
On Tuesday, Germany also announced it is halting the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline project, and the news caused gas prices to spike.
Washington approached both Qatar and Japan in the past on the possibility of supplying gas to Europe should Russia decide to cut its flows.
Moscow already scaled back on its gas exports to Europe in recent months – Russia reduced its supplies to the region by 23 percent during the last quarter of 2021, according to the International Energy Agency.
Though Japan rerouted a portion of its LNG cargoes to the region, there was no incremental added supply because the deliveries were already scheduled through a joint initiative with Japan’s JERA and France’s EDF, according to Reuters.