Nearly 60% of German chems would need to cut output to reduce natural gas use

Jonathan Lopez


MADRID (ICIS)–57% of Germany’s chemicals producers would need to cut output in the coming six months to achieve further savings in natural gas, according to research institute Ifo.

In a survey conducted among German manufacturers, the chemicals industry would be one of the most affected were they to reduce natural gas use further.

In the past six months, 17.3% of German chemicals have already cut back production to achieve natural gas savings, compared with a cut in output in overall manufacturing of 14.1%, said Ifo.

Ifo said 59% of the companies it surveyed use natural gas in their production processes.

Of these, 75% said they had managed to save on natural gas in the past six months without curtailing output.

“This large proportion is encouraging, but the differences between industries are significant. Moreover, the potential for further savings without a drop in production seems to be running out,” said Karen Pittel, director of the Ifo Center for Energy, Climate, and Resources.

Only two other industries were at higher risk than chemicals of having to cut output to achieve natural gas savings: 69% of companies in the glass and ceramics and 67% in the pharmaceutical industry.

Of those which already cut output to achieve natural gas savings, the 17.3% of chemicals firms ranked fourth after printing (40%), metal production and processing (35%), and textile manufacture (25%).

“Regarding the next six months, only 38.8% of [overall manufacturing] companies say they will be able to further reduce their gas consumption while keeping production at the same level,” said Ifo.

“After all, 41.4% of industrial companies say that the only way for them to save more gas is if they cut back production at the same time.”

Ifo said 12.3% of all industrial companies said they would have to stop production altogether if they were to reduce gas consumption further, with food and animal feed manufacturers (27%), printing (24%), and metal product manufacturers (24%) the most affected.

Analysts at Oxford Economics said earlier in November there remained risks of shutdowns in German chemicals plants dependent on natural gas for electricity production in coming months.


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