BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany and Qatar signed on Friday a declaration to deepen their energy partnership, with a focus on trade in hydrogen and liquefied natural gas (LNG), as Europe's biggest economy looks for alternative supplies amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The partnership deal foresees regular meetings between authorities from both countries and creates a working group focused on developing trade relations in LNG and hydrogen, as well as one devoted to renewable energy.
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani was in Germany for the signing of the deal with German Economy Minister Robert Habeck, who travelled to Qatar in March, along with officials from German utilities RWE and Uniper, for talks on long-term LNG supply deals.
The agreement does not mean long-term LNG deals will be concluded, three people familiar with the supply deal talks told Reuters earlier this month.
Those talks face challenges, they said, with Berlin reluctant to commit to Qatar's conditions to sign deals of at least 20 years to secure the massive LNG volumes Germany needs to reduce its dependence on Russian gas.
Russia is currently the largest supplier of gas to Germany, and Habeck has launched several initiatives to lessen Berlin's energy dependence on Moscow since the invasion of Ukraine.
(Writing by Miranda Murray; Editing by Rachel More and Mark Potter)