German chem industry needs affordable energy – Merck KGaA CEO

18 June 2009 20:13  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Germany needs to do more to ensure the country’s industrial producers, and in particular its chemicals sector, have access to affordable and secure energy supplies, the CEO of specialty chemicals and pharmaceuticals producer Merck KGaA said on Thursday.

Given Germany’s large export-oriented industrial base, the issue was “a question of destiny” for the country, Karl-Ludwig Kley said.

Kley, who is also a member of the presidium of Germany’s chemical producers association Verband der Chemischen Industrie, was addressing a meeting of the economic council of Chancellor Angela’s Merkel’s CDU party in Berlin.

Germany’s industrial producers were consuming one third of the country’s energy, Kley said.

For the chemicals sector, energy ranked as the most import production factor, as important as the development of workers’ scientific skills and knowledge.

Kley called for realistic and integrated energy policies that balanced the requirements economy, security and the environment.

He also warned of additional costs from the EU’s emission trading plan.

In the chemical industry, the plan was expected to add over €830m ($1.15bn)/year to producers’ costs from 2013.

Reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions was important, Kley said, and he pointed to Merck’s own success in reducing emissions from its operation.

However, climate protection targets should not be allowed to override society’s many other objectives, Kley said.

Kley also said that more competition on Germany’s electricity and gas markets would help reduce costs.

The country’s energy producers were facing only little competition from competitors abroad.

However, with more competition, Germany could cut electricity prices by almost 30%, he said, citing the findings of an EU study.

($1 = €0.72)

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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