Allensbach Institute Survey: Germans increasingly concerned about energy security - Support for domestic gas production growing
Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine has led to a massive loss of confidence among Germans in Russia as an energy supplier. Instead, Germans are focusing on other energy partners and on domestic production of natural gas to overcome any threatened supply bottlenecks. These are the findings of a recent survey conducted by the Allensbach Institute, an independent German opinion and market research organisation, on behalf of Wintershall Dea.
Questions about energy security are now at the centre of public debate owing to Russia’s war on Ukraine and the associated EU sanctions against what has been the EU’s most important energy partner to date. The representative survey, conducted in April, shows how clearly public opinion has changed in Germany since the beginning of the war. A 56-per cent majority does not believe that Germany’s energy supply is still secure at all times. By way of comparison, in February 2022 before the outbreak of war, less than half (43%) of respondents were concerned about this issue.
Responses regarding which countries are reliable suppliers of natural gas show just how massive Russia’s reputational loss has been. Only about one in 10 respondents (11%) still consider Russia to be a reliable exporter, whereas the figure was almost three times as high in February. In contrast, Germans now view countries such as Canada and the United States as being much more reliable, with confidence scores of 62 and 57 per cent, respectively. Norway continues to enjoy the best reputation as an energy partner. The share of respondents who have confidence in the country has even risen from 79 to 85 per cent.
Domestic gas production is likewise enjoying growing support among the broad majority of the population. According to the Allensbach survey, nearly three-quarters – or 74 per cent, to be precise – of Germans now consider it important (41%) or even very important (33%) that domestic gas be produced in Germany. This represents an increase of seven percentage points compared to February 2022.
Confidence in Russia has been shaken – and probably for a long time to come. A clear majority of 71 per cent of Germans are convinced that economic relations with Russia will remain strained even after the end of the war, according to the Allensbach survey. Only 13 per cent of respondents expect economic relations with Russia to quickly return to normal after the end of the war.
“We share the view of the public,” said Mario Mehren, CEO of Wintershall Dea, Europe’s leading independent gas and oil company, which commissioned the survey. “Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine marks a turning point, also for Wintershall Dea – with lasting repercussions. As a company, we decided immediately after the start of the war not to take forward any additional projects in Russia.”
Wintershall Dea invests in particular in the production of natural gas as a clean energy source. “Europe must secure its energy supply by clearly investing in domestic production and in production in important partner countries, such as Norway,” Mehren noted. He added that investments will also be needed in future technologies, such as climate-friendly hydrogen and the safe storage of CO2. “We are working on this as a company,” Mehren continued. “But it is just as important that policymakers – in both Berlin and Brussels – now set the right course and make it clear that ‘We want this, and we need this’ so that the energy supply in Germany and Europe remains secure.” The storage of CO2 is also well perceived in Germany. 43 per cent of respondents support the idea that CCS projects should also be pursued in Germany.