Energy policy critical for BASF in 2014

James Snodgrass
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

Published: November 26, 2013 12:18 pm ET
Updated: November 26, 2013 12:22 pm ET

Image By: BASF SE Kurt Bock, CEO of BASF SE

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Materials Suppliers
Companies & Associations BASF SE

LONDON ‒ Kurt Bock, CEO of BASF SE, says Germany's reliance on renewable energy is blunting its competiveness.

Chemical companies in Germany pay an additional cost of 400 million euros per year to subsidize renewable energy, he said at a Nov. 22 meeting with journalists in London.

"We're not against renewables," said Bock, "we are very much in favor of energy efficiency because that's the smartest way to reduce CO2 emissions. The discussion is about the speed of the build-up of renewable energy."

He said grid stability was a problem, that during sunny periods of the day, Germany is exporting electricity to Poland, Holland and Austria, sometimes at negative prices. Bock continued: "And then we have to buy it back sometimes later at night because the sun is not shining, the wind is not blowing. That is not really efficient. We've asked for a more efficient and more productive system, better grid, better coordination of European energy policies, it has to be tied into the networks of our neighboring countries.

"Ludwigshafen [BASF's headquarters site in Germany] is essentially competitive because we have worked very hard over the last 20 years to make that site better. And you wouldn't just simply walk away, that is not our intention, we fight for a better regulatory framework to stay competitive in Europe and in Germany and obviously the competition has changed over the last couple of years because we see the emergence of shale gas in the United States.

"We now get a new continent, a country, which also enjoys cheaper energy. To give you an idea, electricity costs in America are 50 percent of what they are in Germany. And shale gas [is one third the price] maybe a little bit more. So we have a slight disadvantage in terms of energy costs."

In a recent interview in Der Spiegel, Bock had spoken in favor of fracking in Germany. And he echoed this sentiment in his talk in London.

"I think it can be done in an environmentally acceptable way. Today in a German newspaper there was an announcement that the association of the water-using industries so, for instance, the beer brewers, who warn against fracking because they are concerned that fracking will lead to the pollution of ground water and drinking water ‒ that is ludicrous, I have to say, absolutely ludicrous."

He explained that fracking has been used for many years in Germany for the extraction of natural gas and that the process is not that different from fracking for shale gas: it still uses water under pressure, to break rock and release gas.

"We've done this for decades, hundreds of events. Not a single accident, not a single [incidence of] pollution of ground water, because you normally don't drill in areas where you produce drinking water," said Bock who bemoaned the unwillingness of the German authorities to give additional permits to drill because of their over-reliance on appealing to the 'public sentiment.'

"We know that we have shale gas reserves that will last for at least 10 years, on 100 percent consumption of natural gas in Germany. Probably it's much more. The only request we now make is 'please allow us to do the testing, under controlled conditions, tested, we can invite all the stakeholders, scientific advice'. Then we find out two things – whether it's doable technically and whether it's acceptable from an environmental point of view, that's one side, and then whether it's economical. That's the only, pragmatic way," said Bock.

A complete version of this story is available at www.europeanplasticsnews.com.


Comments

Energy policy critical for BASF in 2014

James Snodgrass
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

Published: November 26, 2013 12:18 pm ET
Updated: November 26, 2013 12:22 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

'Thermoforming has nearly limitless possibilities'

April 18, 2014 12:54 pm ET

Julie McAlindon of PolyOne Corp. speaks about the future of thermoforming and the integration of Spartech Corp.    More

Image

Ascend targets nylon for auto applications, opening propylene monomer unit in Texas

April 18, 2014 10:57 am ET

Materials firm Ascend Performance Materials Inc. is in full operation at its new nylon 6/6 compounding line in Florida and will break ground by the...    More

Dutch company launching $100 million PP, PE recycling plant

April 18, 2014 10:42 am ET

Quality Circular Polymers is building a new plastics recycling operation in Geleen, the Netherlands' Chemelot industrial chemical site, with a...    More

Lumena suspends trading, delays report amid claims of 'misrepresenting' financials

April 18, 2014 10:19 am ET

China Lumena New Materials Corp., which says it has the world's largest manufacturing capacity for polyphenylene sulfide resin, has suspended its...    More

PolyQuest spins off FiberQuest unit

April 18, 2014 10:14 am ET

PolyQuest Inc. has spun off its FiberQuest unit — which distributes polyester staple fibers and cotton — as a separate company.    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Automotive Market Review and Outlook 2014 The Americas

This 75-page report features in-depth analysis of the automotive industry for the Americas. It includes discussions of market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting production and threats as well as design strategies being implemented by the major automakers. Detailed charts and data tables outline North American automotive production over the last five years.

Learn more

Plastics Building & Construction Market Review and Outlook 2014 with MS Excel chart data

This report provides in-depth analysis of the plastic building and construction market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats and the latest developments in construction trends that impact plastics processors.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events