Sector News

Covestro CEO warns of industry damage from embargo on Russian gas

April 16, 2022
Chemical Value Chain

The chemical industry and other sectors must reduce their dependence on fossil fuel raw materials in general and Russian gas in particular, but an immediate embargo on Russian gas “could result in the collapse of entire production and supply chains,” according to Markus Steilemann, CEO of Covestro (Leverkusen, Germany).

“The desire behind the calls for an immediate halt to imports [of Russian gas] is understandable,” Steilemann says in prepared speech remarks posted on the company’s website ahead of its annual general meeting on 21 April. However, such an embargo would be short-sighted, he says.

“We must acknowledge that Germany’s gas supply cannot be restructured overnight. An immediate gas embargo would affect industries besides the chemical industry. It is also true of all downstream sectors. This could result in the collapse of entire production and supply chains and would endanger hundreds of thousands of jobs,” he says.

Steilemann, who is president-elect at VCI, Germany’s chemical industry association, says the war in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion “poses challenges for our communities as well as our company. No one knows what the long-term consequences will be. Or the consequences for the energy supply.” Overcoming the industry’s dependence on fossil raw materials is a “huge challenge,” he says. The war “clearly indicates that we must work together on new technologies. This is the only way we can end this dependence forever,” he adds.

by Mark Thomas


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