Increase production to counter Putin’s weapon energy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday called on energy-rich countries, including Qatar, to increase their oil and gas exports amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Responsible states, especially the state of Qatar, you are reliable and reputable providers of energy resources,” Zelensky said via video at the Doha Forum in Qatar, according to The Associated Press. “And you can help stabilize the situation in Europe. There is a lot to be done to restore justice.”
The Ukrainian President added: “The future of Europe depends on your efforts. I urge you to increase energy production to make Russia understand that no state should use energy as a weapon and do sing the world”.
His comments at the Doha Forum, an international event for world leaders and policymakers, come as Western countries have sanctioned Russia for its actions in Ukraine, which in turn have curbed its energy exports. In the wake of the Russian invasion, gas prices soared globally.
It is unclear, however, whether oil-rich countries will heed Zelensky’s call.
The AP reported that the head of state oil company Qatar Energy, Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, said on Saturday that Qatar was unlikely to be able to send more gas to Europe “immediately”. .
European nations have always been deeply dependent on Russian energy. But earlier this month, the European Union announced that it was seeking to end its energy dependence on Russia.
“We must become independent of Russian oil, coal and gas,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement. “We simply cannot rely on a supplier that explicitly threatens us.”
Before the invasion, the European Union bought about 40% of its natural gas from Russia, as well as 27% of its oil and 46% of its coal.
European nations, including Germany, have taken steps to reduce their dependence on Russian oil and gas sources. Last week, Germany said it had reached an energy partnership deal with Qatar to reduce its dependence on Russia. And in February, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that the country would stop certification of the Nord Stream gas pipeline 2 days before Russia invaded its neighboring country.
On Wednesday, Scholz refused a request from Putin to pay for Russian gas deliveries in rubles. The Russian president said he would only require ‘so-called hostile countries’ to pay in roubles, in a move that could boost the value of the country’s currency, which plummeted after the West imposed penalties.