MADRID (ICIS) – EU plans to reduce gas consumption in the 27 countries equally could affect Spanish manufacturing sectors and do not recognize the specificities of each member state, according to the Spanish trade group of FEIQUE chemicals.
Juan Antonio Labat, chief executive of FEIQUE, said he was happy with the Spanish government’s position – the energy minister said this week that the cabinet would oppose and aim to modify the proposals at a key summit of EU energy ministers on 26 July.
This week, the European Commission – the EU’s executive arm – proposed cutting natural gas consumption by up to 15%, starting in August, as the 27-nation bloc braces for a potential drop flows from Russian Gazprom via the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.
Labat said the 15% cut, which the Commission would aim to implement equally across the 27 EU countries, did not reflect the different realities within the bloc regarding natural gas.
As Germany has become heavily dependent on Russian natural gas flows, Spain’s supply is more secure thanks to its six major liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, the International Energy Agency has said. (IEA) in June.
Moreover, Labat said that even if certain manufacturing sectors in Spain were to be mandated to reduce their gas consumption, chemicals would be spared because the legislation considers the sector an “essential industry” – just like during the blockages linked to the coronavirus. COVID-19 pandemic.
GAS: DIFFERENT REALITIES
According to the Commission’s proposals this week, the gas restrictions would be imposed if the Commission itself, or two EU member states, requested the activation of the emergency mechanism.
“We strongly oppose the emergency mechanism, and we oppose the goal of making gas cuts mandatory and to an equal extent in all EU member states. Spain is much better placed than Germany when it comes to natural gas supply,” Labat said.
“In addition, if Spain reduced its gas consumption by 15%, we could not share the surplus with Germany: there is no connection between the two countries. We have a connection with France and we already send as much gas as possible through this route. »
Spain’s preparation for the current natural gas crisis, Labat continued, should give the country more leeway regarding industry needs.
Petrochemical players across Europe were this week considering the end of maintenance on the key Nord Stream 1 pipeline, amid fears Russian gas giant Gazprom could resume flows; however, natural gas is again flowing to Germany, albeit at reduced rates.
“There has always been a lot of talk about the fact that Spain did not have enough energy. Well, in this case, we are the country in Europe with the most LNG installations, and we are not dependent on Russian gas at all,” Labat said.
“However, households and businesses have been paying for this infrastructure in their energy bills since the 1980s. As a country, we trust LNG and preferred pipelines, and it should pay off now. Natural gas is a European weakness. In Germany, they stopped nuclear energy before securing natural gas flows. They put themselves at the mercy of Russia.
DEPENDENT TODAY, DEPENDENT TOMORROW
Labat made some interesting comments about the supply of key raw materials for decades to come; while Europe can achieve energy independence through renewable sources, moving away from fossil fuels, the region will remain dependent on foreign sources to secure materials such as lithium, platinum and cobalt, key commodities for manufacture electronics.
“Europe has reserves of these products, but it does not want to exploit them. This is my concern for the decades to come: once we achieve energy independence and freedom from fossil fuels, we will be dependent on other strategic raw materials,” Labat said.
“At the national level, we only produce 1% of materials such as lithium, cobalt, wolfram and platinum: we will have to secure supplies abroad. Thus, we will pass from a dependence vis-à-vis the hydrocarbon cartel to a dependence vis-à-vis the cartel for these raw materials.
Maintenance article by Jonathan Lopez