EU chemicals, energy-intensive sectors call for measures to tackle ‘unbearable’ gas costs

Nigel Davis


LONDON (ICIS)–High natural gas prices in the EU are “unbearable” for energy-intensive industries, chemicals trade groups Cefic and Fertilizers Europe said on Thursday ahead of a key energy summit.

EU energy ministers are set to meet on Friday (30 September) aiming to reach a political agreement on a proposed emergency intervention in the 27-country bloc’s energy markets to address high prices.

Cefic and Fertilizers Europe, together with 11 other trade groups representing energy-intensive industries in the EU, underlined the need for “more immediate and efficient measures” in what they called worsening crisis circumstances.

“We reiterate our call on the European leaders to urgently introduce EU-wide measures aimed at addressing the impact of natural gas prices on industrial competitiveness and measures designed to disconnect electricity prices from gas prices,” they said.

“Moreover, the Temporary Crisis Framework needs to be prolonged and reviewed to adapt to the current circumstances. It must be more flexible and allow for fast approval of the state aid. For example, such requirement as negative EBITDA [earnings] must be removed, as it means the aid would arrive too late.”

The EU’s temporary Crisis Framework was introduced in March to help support the economy following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The European Commission – the EU’s executive body – has proposed intervention in the bloc’s electricity market rules and for the 27 member states to be obliged to reduce electricity consumption by 5% at peak price hours.

It proposed that Member States aim to reduce overall electricity demand by 10% until the end of March 2023.

As well as Cefic and Fertilizers Europe, the statement was signed by trade groups Cembureau (cement), Glass Alliance Europe, Euromines (mining), Cepi (paper), Eurofer (steel), Eurometaux (metals), Eurima (insulation), the European Lime Association, Euro Alliages (ferro alloys and silicon), EXCA (clay), and Cerame-Unie (ceramics).

Front page picture: A picture released by the Danish Ministry of Defense on 27 September shows a leak at the Nord Stream gas pipeline, which is adding further pressure to the EU’s natural gas supply, pushing up prices this week
Picture source: Chine Nouvelle 


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