Natural Gas secures Germany’s position as an industrial location

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  • Natural gas companies, VCI and VIK publish joint position paper
  • German industry is energy-efficient, competitive and has a secure energy supply thanks to the use of natural gas

Germany’s competitiveness as an industrial location is the cornerstone of a successful energy transition – as stated in the coalition agreement of the German government. But how can both be reconciled? “To achieve the ambitious climate targets without putting Germany as an industrial location at risk, we need natural gas”, stresses Mario Mehren, CEO of Europe’s leading independent gas and oil company Wintershall Dea. “We can maintain industrial production in Germany with clean and affordable energy that is reliably available. Gas and the energy transition both belong together!” Mehren adds. For this reason, Wintershall Dea has joined with other gas companies as well as the VCI (German Chemical Industry Association) and VIK (German Federation of Industrial Energy Consumers) associations in setting out the contribution made by gas to climate protection and competitiveness in a new position paper.

German industry especially energy-efficient thanks to natural gas

Germany has a strong and efficient industry: the production sector accounts for more than a quarter of the gross value added (27.5 percent). In other industrialised countries, such as France and the United States, the figure is only around 20 percent. “The above-average value creation is made possible to a large extent by natural gas”, stresses Mehren. According to the signatories to the position paper, industrial companies consumed a total of just under 40 percent of Germany’s total natural gas requirements in 2016 (926 billion kWh). In individual areas, such as industry and construction, gas consumption in Germany is almost twice as high as in France, for example.

At the same time, production in Germany – also thanks to natural gas – is significantly more energy-efficient than in many other industrialised countries. Just 4.7 gigajoules (GJ) of primary energy were used to produce goods and services worth €1,000 in Germany in 2016. That means Germany is four percent more efficient than Japan – and a whole 32 percent more efficient than the United States. Energy efficiency in the economy as a whole has improved by 23 percent since 2000 (6.1 GJ). In the meantime, greenhouse gas emissions from industrial processes have fallen by more than 20 percent.

Of particular importance is the role of natural gas in the chemical industry, which accounts for 15 percent of the amount of natural gas consumed in Germany. It is used not only for energy and power generation, but also as a feedstock: its main constituent methane forms the basis for producing ammonia and methanol. These chemical compounds are an important part of various target products: for example, for polymer materials, detergents and cleaning agents, and special chemicals.

The importance of gas will also continue to increase in the steel sector: in order to achieve the climate targets, the industry aims to replace the current carbon-based resources almost completely. Hydrogen produced with low greenhouse gas emissions – for example, from natural gas – can play a key role in this. Wintershall Dea is working with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) on researching into how this blue hydrogen can be produced through methane pyrolysis.

More information and details can be found in the position paper “Protecting the climate and securing competitiveness together: how the gas sector and industry help achieve that” [Link]

About Wintershall Dea

With the merger of Wintershall Holding GmbH and DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG, two successful companies with a long tradition have formed Europe’s leading independent natural gas and oil company: Wintershall Dea. The company with German roots and headquarters in Kassel and Hamburg explores for and produces gas and oil in 13 countries worldwide in an efficient and responsible manner. With activities in Europe, Russia, Latin America and the MENA region (Middle East & North Africa), Wintershall Dea has a global upstream portfolio and, with its participation in natural gas transport, is also active in the midstream business.

Wintershall Dea stands for more than 120 years of experience as an operator and project partner along the entire E&P value chain. The company employs around 4,000 people worldwide from over 60 nations. The company aims to increase the average daily production in 2018 from around 590,000 barrels of oil equivalent by 2023 to around 750,000 barrels of oil equivalent.

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