The Group of Seven nations agreed to find new sources of energy to prevent Russia from using its oil and gas reserves as a “political weapon,” German Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said.
The world’s leading economies will expand their natural gas infrastructure, increase their efforts to save energy and use renewable power as part of the agreement, Gabriel said at a press briefing in Rome today where he attended a meeting of G-7 energy ministers. The group will also draw up a plan to deliver emergency supplies to countries like Ukraine that may face shortages, Italy’s Federica Guidi said.
“We’ve seen Russia use energy as a weapon on previous occasions,” U.K. Energy Secretary Ed Davey said at a news briefing after the talks. “In the past we let that happen and then we went back to business as usual. We’ve decided we’re not going to allow that this time. We have taken measures to start reducing Europe’s dependency on Russian gas.”
The European Union’s reliance on Russian oil and gas has hampered the global response to escalating violence in Ukraine and the worst standoff with Russia since the Cold War. Russia under President Vladimir Putin provides about a third of the EU’s oil and gas needs, mainly via state-controlled OAO Gazprom and OAO Rosneft (ROSN) through pipelines that cross Ukraine.
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