US Gas out of Favor With Germans

02.08.2017 -

Following up on comments by BASF chief Kurt Bock last week, questioning the motivation for extended US sanctions against Russia and the participation of Western companies in Russian-led projects, the chemical giant’s energy subsidiary Wintershall has published the results of a German survey on the subject conducted for it by the opinion research institute Forsa.

Three-quarters of the survey respondents, Wintershall said, believe that protecting US economic interests was the motivation for Washington’s proposed new sanctions. While half of the 1,000 Germans queried supported a further diversification of natural gas supply, only 6% said they wanted to see more imports of American liquefied natural gas, the Kassel-based group reports.

The “vast majority,” according to Wintershall,  reject the exended sanctions if they would restrict German and European companies doing business in or with Russia. Altogether, 86% said they agreed with German and Austrian criticism of the US plan, while only 7% said the criticism was exaggerated.

What’s more, the respondents for the most part did accept the US argument that the sanctions were in retaliation for Russian interference in the November 2016 US elections, Wintershall noted. For more than 80% of the Germans questioned, it said the top priorities of natural gas supply were affordability and security.

According to the survey results, 62% of the respondents thought Norway to be the most reliable partner to make up the deficit in Europe’s natural gas production, Wintershall said Russia has “dropped down the ratings,” and only 13% of Germans now view the country as a reliable energy supplier, behind Brazil and Argentina (18% respectively), Mexico (17%) and the Middle East and Caspian regions with 16% each.

As regards the US, the survey sees the country just ahead of Iran (9%) and Iraq and North Africa (5% each) in regard to reliability. In November 2013, some 50% of the German public still regarded the US as a reliable energy supplier, Wintershall remarked.