Gas situation: The German abrasives industry is able to deliver
The war in Ukraine and the associated sanctions against Russia not only have a significant impact on supply chains, raw materials, and markets, but also endanger the stable supply of gas in Europe. In the event of a possible gas shortage, the available gas volume would be prioritised based on the European regulation (EU) 2017/1938 concerning measures to safeguard the security of gas supply, implemented nationally in the gas emergency plan for the Federal Republic of Germany, and the “Safe gas for safe winter” package published by the EC on 20th July 2022.
Since 23rd June 2022, the second level (alert level) of the national gas emergency plan has been in force in Germany, according to which there is a disruption in the gas supply that leads to a significant deterioration in the gas supply situation, but the market is still able to withstand this disruption without the need for non-market based measures. In the event of a possible gas shortage (third level: emergency level), private consumers and critical infrastructure facilities are subject to special legal protection and are supplied with priority. Industry companies, on the other hand, would be assigned upper consumption limits.
In the event of a gas shortage, the responsible Bundesnetzagentur will make decisions on gas distribution based on a catalog of criteria. This list takes into account, among other things, the lead time for gas reductions, expected economic damage and the public relevance of the production. In addition, the federal government recently questioned the absolute priority given to private households over the needs of industry in the event of a gas shortage. Accordingly, all consumers must make contributions to save gas.
The VDS has made it clear to the federal government that the abrasives industry, as an industry of strategic relevance, must be given high priority in the gas supply based on the criteria of the Bundesnetzagentur. Because specialized abrasives are used in almost all industrial manufacturing processes. They are indispensable for securing basic needs and the common good as well as for maintaining system-relevant industrial production – for example in the energy sector, in the food industry, in agriculture, in medical technology or in the automotive, aviation and defence industries. In addition, in the abrasives industry, lead times for gas reductions of up to several weeks would be necessary and economic damage to the plant technology could not be ruled out.
The VDS is in contact with the main players in the field of gas crisis prevention at federal level – with the Federal Ministry of Economics BMWK, the Bundesnetzagentur and the German Industry Association BDI, which is represented in the top-level talks with the federal government.
The situation is tense, but the gas supply in Germany is stable and security of supply is currently guaranteed. We assume that the companies in the abrasives industry organized in the VDS will continue to be able to reliably supply their customers with abrasives.
Bonn, July 2022
Contact: Dr. Gunnar Grecksch, grecksch(at)vds‐bonn.de