Scholz heads to Canada for energy talks
Berlin, Aug 22: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday left for a three-day visit to Canada focused on boosting energy security in Europe's largest economy.
Faced with the possibility of reduced or zero gas imports from Russia — in retaliation for Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine — the chancellor is stepping up efforts to secure alternatives.
LNG and hydrogen deals planned
Up for discussion will be the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG), although it was unclear whether this would meet Germany's short-term needs.
Canada currently has no LNG terminals for export and new facilities would take years to build.
Germany's gas requirements are limited due to plans to phase out fossil fuels by 2035.
A longer-term deal on closer cooperation on renewable energies like green hydrogen is expected to be signed.
Canada is planning to build a hydrogen plant in Newfoundland that will use wind energy to produce the fuel, the Globe & Mail reported.
Germany is also keen to source minerals available in Canada — nickel, cobalt, lithium and graphite — which are important for the production of batteries for electric vehicles.
Scholz, who is joined on the trip by Economy Minister and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, will hold talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Support for Ukraine likely to dominate talks
The leaders are due to discuss the need for political, economic and military support for Ukraine's battles against Russia, and on dealings with China.
The two German politicians will first meet Trudeau in his Montreal constituency on Monday.
The trio will then attend a German-Canadian economic conference in Toronto.
A delegation of more than a dozen business leaders is accompanying Scholz and Habeck, including the CEOs of Volkswagen and Siemens.
Before they leave, the German leaders will visit the remote town of Stephenville in Newfoundland, to spotlight the development of hydrogen technologies and hydrogen supply chains.
As Germany scrambles to wean itself off Russian gas, Habeck has already visited countries like Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Norway on missions to diversify energy imports.
Scholz interrupted by topless protest
Earlier Sunday, Scholz found himself suddenly flanked by topless women during a press event, as part of a protest calling for an embargo on Germany's import of Russian gas.
A dpa photographer at the scene reported that security guards immediately intervened and led the two women away.
Habeck, meanwhile, said Sunday that Germans shouldn't panic about a shortage of gas this winter.
He said the government was helping to secure additional gas supplies, including LNG from the United States, but stressed that the country would still need to cut gas usage by 15-20%.
With material from DPA news agency