The family company HOBUM specializes in the manufacture of various petrochemical products. One of the liquids produced there is used, for example, to protect against corrosion in cars. It can be found on 70% of vehicles on the European market.
In order to obtain the liquid that comes out of the laboratories, steam heated to 280 degrees Celsius, generated with the help of gas, must be used.
employés et de leurs familles”,”text”:”J’ai besoin de gaz. Je sais que je paie indirectement la guerre de la Russie en Ukraine. Mais j’ai la responsabilité de 52employés et de leurs familles”}}”>I need gas. I know that I indirectly pay for Russia’s war in Ukraine. But I have responsibility for 52 employees and their familiesstarts Arnold Mergell, the leader of Hobum.
The entrepreneur explains that he has been trying to vary his energy sources for a number of years. It relies on hydrogen, among other things, to replace gas, but it will take time for this transition to happen.
He says his factory’s dependency, like thousands of others in Germany, is largely due to recent energy decisions by Europe’s leading economy.
” We wanted to phase out nuclear power and coal, which is good in terms of combating climate change, but it was too early, too fast. We are too dependent on gas, especially Russia. »
Arnold Mergell attributes responsibility to political authorities, but also to businessmen who, like him, found this resource
was easy to get and affordable.
We have made mistakes in the past and now we have to pay for themhe says.
Attempt at diplomatic rapprochement
Beyond economic decisions, Berlin has made the political decision to expand its trade relations with Russia, explains Thomas Pellerin-Carlin, director of the Jacques Delors Institute Energy Center.
” The Germans chose to become dependent on Russian gas in the hope that this German-Russian interdependence would bring about a change in Russian foreign policy. »
For about fifteen years, Chancellor Angela Merkel defended this rapprochement, which was initially initiated by her predecessor Gerhard Schröder, a politician who was sharply criticized for his close ties with Moscow. Even after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, Gerhard Schröder continued to sit on the boards of Russian energy companies.
Since the beginning of the war
We see clearly that this German policy has failedobserves Thomas Pellerin-Carlin.
Protests have been taking place over the past two months calling on the ruling coalition to end Russian energy imports. At continental level, a majority of MEPs also supported the idea of such an embargo.
Without agreeing to an embargo, new Chancellor Olaf Scholz took an important step in late February when he announced that he was suspending certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, a project that would have greatly increased imports of Russian gas into the territory.
Despite everything, Germany remains a major consumer of this resource. Earlier this year, half of the country’s gas imports came from Russia. The Berlin authorities recently announced that this proportion has fallen to 35%.
Diversify energy sources
Germany’s foreign minister recently said Germany could stop importing Russian oil by the end of the year. For gas, we have to wait until mid-2024.
In order to free itself from the resource, Berlin has promised, among other things, to greatly increase the production of solar and wind energy over the next eight years.
Germany has also announced funding for port terminal projects that will allow the import of liquefied natural gas from Norway or Qatar, for example.
One of the selected locations is the port of Brünsbüttel, about a hundred kilometers west of Hamburg.
We’ve been saying for years that Germany needs this infrastructureexplains local politician Oliver Kumbartzy, adding that defenders of the project have long met with disinterest from federal authorities.
Finally, four days after the beginning of the war, Chancellor Scholz announced Berlin’s financial participation in this terminal. The project should see the light of day by 2024 and floating terminals should appear for delivery as early as next year.
An announcement by the Mayor of Brunsbüttel, Martin Schmedtje, who would have wished for the gas terminal project to be approved much earlier.
” Personally, I would have preferred to make this decision in peacetime rather than under the pressure of the war in Ukraine. »
Mayor Schmedjte is nonetheless pleased that Berlin is beginning to diversify its sources of supply, especially since dependence on Russia is reflected in the energy bills of his fellow citizens.
A reality that you can see when you visit a pizzeria a few meters from Brunsbüttel town hall, where almost everything runs on gas, from the stove to the heating.
Russia is finished, we don’t want to buy their gas anymore. But what will be the price to be paid?asks Ahmed, the owner.
A question that dominates the German political debate today.