Switzerland looks to broker energy deal with Qatar as energy prices soar
In an attempt to wean itself off Russian oil and gas, the government has sent a delegation to Qatar to discuss the import of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from the Gulf state back to homes in Switzerland. The conflict in Ukraine, and subsequent sanctions against Russia, have forced European nations to revaluate where they source their energy from, as prices continue to rise.
Swiss finance minister to broker a deal with Qatar over LNG
Switzerland's Finance Minister, Ueli Maurer, met his Qatari counterpart in Doha on Tuesday. The main purpose of the trip was to discuss the delivery of LNG from Qatar to Switzerland. Around 15 percent of Switzerland’s energy consumption comes from gas, of which around half is sourced from Russia.
Maurer's trip comes as European nations reevaluate where they import their energy from, as reliance on Russian gas and oil has made sanctions against the country harder to enforce and harder to sustain. Already, Germany has struck a long-term energy deal with Qatar, which the Swiss hope to replicate.
Alongside discussing energy, Switzerland and Qatar also signed a “memorandum of understanding,” designed to deepen cooperation on banking, finance, taxation and wider economic ties. Maurer’s next destination on his tour is the United Arab Emirates, where he is expected to raise similar issues at the COVID delayed Expo 2020 in Dubai.
Higher energy prices for households in Switzerland
The scramble to secure new energy corridors has translated into higher prices for electricity and other utilities in Switzerland. Swissgrid - the equivalent of the National Grid in Switzerland - announced that grid charges on electricity bills will increase by 20 Swiss francs in 2022, to 70 Swiss francs a year, on top of the expected price rises on the overall cost of energy.
In a statement, Swissgrid said that “significantly increased prices on the electricity markets” are to blame for the higher cost. Currently, the grid only amounts to around 8 percent of a household's energy bill, and as prices rise on fuel and energy rise, it is expected that the rest of the price will start to increase in the coming year.