“We all share the ambition to find an effective response to climate change. However, hopes for the early conclusion of a global agreement providing a level playing field have been dashed and, with the best will in the world, the likelihood of an agreement in 2015 creating a truly level playing field is remote”.
64 CEOs of the European Steel Industry addressed an open letter to the Heads of State and Governments, a week ahead of their spring meeting in Brussels. The heads of state and governments have been called upon to restore balance between industrial, energy and climate policies in order to preserve the competitiveness of the industries which are at the core of the European economy.
The growing uncertainties in Ukraine show once again the strong correlation between security of supply and increasing energy prices in Europe. Russia’s Gazprom supplied the European Union and Turkey in 2013 with a record 162 billion cubic metres of gas, of which 86 bcm was supplied through the Ukraine. Gazprom issued a warning that it could stop shipping gas to Ukraine over unpaid bills. Central Europeans fear, they could be under threat again due to an escalation of tensions between Russia and the West over Russia’s seizure of Crimea. And there are media reports of analysts, e.g. in euractiv, that US natural gas would not reach European markets before 2016, and thus could not provide an alternative in the current Ukrainian crisis.
Energy efficiency and renewables are part of the energy mix in Europe and part of the solution, but not enough. Steel Industry calls an open-mindedness with regards to alternative, domestic European resources, such as shale gas.
EUROFER Director General Gordon Moffat:
”Energy extraction is always environmentally challenging and we don’t under-estimate the concerns raised in shale gas development in Europe which has a population density and regulatory infrastructure very different from that of the USA. Nevertheless, given the absolute necessity for Europe to diversify its sources of supply of gas and to find solutions to the huge energy price differential with its main competitors we see no alternative but to proceed as rapidly as possible with shale gas exploitation as part of the energy mix in Europe while retaining all the precautions necessary in pursuing this approach.”
Represented by EUROFER, the European steel industry represents the world leader in its sector, producing on average 170 million tonnes of steel per year with direct employment of 350 thousand highly skilled people. More than 500 steel production and processing sites in 24 EU member states provide direct and indirect employment for millions of European citizens.