Finland warns energy crisis could curb forest, chemical industry, close factories

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Finland warns energy crisis could curb forest, chemical industry, close factories

Finland’s forestry and chemical industry companies are currently doing everything they can to find alternatives to natural gas before winter and the worsening European gas crisis.

According to the industry, it seems that there would be enough gas for their needs. However, it is still impossible to predict the price development.

Finnish industry is surviving the European gas crisis clearly easier than its European competitors, because less gas is used here. For some companies in the forest and pulp industry, the situation is still difficult. In the industry, they are prepared for the fact that in the worst case they will have to shut down factories in the winter.

”It is possible that production at some factories will decrease or stop if the price rises impossibly high or if for some reason the availability of gas is not OK, says Metsäteollisuus ry’s energy and climate manager Ahti Fagerblom .

According to Mika Aalto, CEO of Kemianteollisuus ry, in an extreme situation, the production of companies dependent on natural gas would have to be reduced or the plants closed. Even if the price of natural gas does not skyrocket or the availability collapses, the situation will test the chemical industry.

The Russian state gas company Gazprom has already cut off the gas supply to several EU countries, for example Finland, in May. The price of natural gas has increased fivefold compared to last year, and in the worst case, gas can become even more expensive.

It is impossible for industrial companies to give up the use of gas completely, because investments require time and natural gas is also used as a raw material.

”It is particularly difficult for small companies, whose opportunities to replace natural gas are less than for large companies,” says Aalto.

The chemical industry and the forest industry are the most significant industrial users of natural gas in Finland.

About a fifth of the companies in the chemical industry use natural gas either as an energy source or as a raw material. Also in the forest industry, certain factories need gas to operate, even though the share of natural gas in factory fuels is only 5 percent on average. According to Fagerblom, these factories are mainly located along the natural gas pipeline network, i.e. in the south-eastern and southern parts of Finland.

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