Qatar announces first major gas deal with Germany

Qatar's Minister of State for Energy Affairs and CEO of QatarEnergy Saad Sherida al-Kaabi (R) and Ryan Lance, CEO of U.S. multinational corporation ConocoPhillips, shake hands after signing an agreement at the QatarEnergy headquarters in Doha on October 30, 2022. (Photo: CFP)

Qatar on Tuesday announced its first major deal to send liquefied natural gas to Germany as Europe scrambles to find alternatives to Russian energy sources.

Qatar's Energy Minister Saad Sherida al-Kaabi said up to 2 million tonnes of gas a year would be sent for at least 15 years from 2026, and that state-run QatarEnergy was discussing other possible deals for Europe's biggest economy.

Kaabi, who is also QatarEnergy's chief executive, said so many European and Asian countries now wanted natural gas that he did not have enough negotiators to cope.

The talks for the latest deal took several months as Germany resisted the long-term contracts that Qatar typically demands to justify its massive investment in the industry.

The German government has been looking for new energy sources to ease energy pressure, and the latest deal will not help the country get through the looming winter.

The gas will be bought through U.S. firm ConocoPhillips, a long-term partner with QatarEnergy, and sent to a new terminal that Germany is hurrying to finish at Brunsbuttel.

"We are committed to contribute to the energy security of Germany and Europe at large," Kaabi told a press conference after the signing ceremony with ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance.

Lance hailed the accord as "a vital contribution to world energy security."

Qatari officials would not discuss prices, but industry analysts have said Germany will have to pay a premium for the shorter contract and the hurried start to deliveries.