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Qatar stands in solidarity with Europe and will not divert gas supply, says energy minister

LONDON: In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson on Thursday, Qatari Energy Minister Saad Al-Kaabi said his country would stand “in solidarity” with European nations by continuing to supply them with gas.

Qatar’s deals with some European countries to supply gas are in the form of “divertible contracts”, meaning it has the right to divert supplies to other customers, Al-Kaabi told Anderson, but added that this will not happen.

“We are not going to hijack (contracts) and keep them in Europe; even if there is financial gain to be diverted, we would not,” he said. “It’s in solidarity with what’s happening in Europe.”

Al-Kaabi rejected the option of imposing sanctions on Russia’s oil and gas sector, saying “energy should stay out of politics.” He also reiterated that a complete ban on Russian gas supplies to Europe is “virtually not possible”, and added that his country does not “choose sides” in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. .

Although Qatar withdrew from OPEC in 2019 and said it had no plans to return to the cartel of oil-producing nations, Al-Kaabi said his country supported recent procurement decisions by organization, calling the plans “very sensible”.

This week, senior German officials, including Economy Minister Robert Habeck, traveled to Qatar for talks on Europe’s long-term gas supply given the current supply uncertainty. Russian energy.

Germany depends on Russian gas for a large part of its energy needs. More than half of its gas imports come from Russia, compared to an average of around 40% across the EU as a whole.

After the visit, rumors circulated that an agreement had been reached between Qatar and Germany for gas supplies, but Al-Kaabi denied that this was the case, at least for the moment.

“We haven’t agreed a long-term deal with Germany yet, but we’re open to talking with the companies we’ve discussed to put in place a long-term deal, potentially,” he said. he declares. “This is a business agreement between business entities.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates last week to try to persuade the two countries to increase oil supplies to international markets, despite an existing agreement between a number of countries oil producers, including Russia, aimed at limiting supplies to help stabilize markets.

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