German gas cap comes too slowly: end users

A working group set up by the German government to discuss curbing exploding gas prices has presented a proposal to introduce a price limit for 70% of industrial gas consumption next year. The proposal has been welcomed by steel industry interest groups, but steel users, especially, claim the 2023 schedule for price caps is not soon enough.

“The working group’s proposal to limit gas prices for the base consumption of industries in 2023 is an essential pillar for companies to bridge this painful energy crisis,” says German steelmakers federation WV Stahl. Relief was also expressed by the head of the country’s biggest steelmaker, thyssenkrupp Steel. “This proposal should be implemented. It provides us with planning security for investments and upcoming tasks,” Bernhard Osburg was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Further downstream, steel users are more sceptical. While welcoming the gas price brake in principle, fabricators federation WSM warns it ought to come faster. “It provides some buffering on a stony road, but the dry spell until the end of the year is still long,” Kallanish hears from managing director Christian Vietmeyer.

He notes that companies have already reached the limit of what they can achieve by lowering production or using different sources of energy. On energy prices, he anticipates that in the long run, “the new normal will be above the level of former days”.

Christian Koehl Germany