Slovenia in talks to get gas from Qatar

Doha – Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec discussed ways for Slovenia to reduce its reliance on Russian natural gas during a visit to Qatar, indicating after talks that Slovenia could soon secure gas supplies from the Middle East country.

Vrtovec, along with Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak, is accompanying President Borut Pahor during a two-day official visit to Qatar aimed at enhancing bilateral political and business links, in particular in energy and green transition.

A release issued by the Infrastructure Ministry on Thursday said Vrtovec and Qatari Minister for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi discussed how to transport up to two ships of Qatari gas a year to Slovenia through LNG terminals in the northern Adriatic.

“One of the major points of discussion was energy […] Slovenia depends fully on Russian gas supplies. If we want to diversify supply, we must invest great effort to find possible solutions,” Vrtovec was quoted as saying.

After talks with the Qatari minister an option was opening up that Slovenia could soon secure supplies of Qatari gas and thus flexibility of supplies.

“We must obviously first get free terminal capacities, only then can further steps follow. We have made a great step forward to diversify our gas supplies as Qatar is interested in cooperation too,” he said.

Vrtovec also met Transport Minister Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti for discussions focusing on ways to boost air and maritime transport links between Slovenia and Qatar.

According to Vrtovec, they talked about the possibility of launching scheduled flights between Ljubljana and Qatar as Slovenia is seen as having an advantage due to its geostrategic location.

They also talked about ways to enhance maritime cooperation through the Koper port. “Cooperation in container transport from Qatar to Luka Koper would certainly contribute to increasing transfer between the two countries and boost the potential for the port’s further development and trade via Slovenia to markets further afield,” said the minister.