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The world’s second-largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, is the latest industrial company to announce a plant closure in Europe due to soaring gas and energy prices.
ArcelorMittal will shut one of its two blast furnaces at its steelworks site in Bremen, Germany, from the end of September until further notice, due to the “exorbitant rise in energy prices,” the company said in a statement on Friday.
The high energy prices are undermining the competitiveness of steel production and the company is taking this step in Germany because it cannot operate all plants economically, ArcelorMittal said.
The steel giant also cited weak market demand, a negative economic outlook, and persistently high CO2 costs in steel production as reasons for its decision.
“The high gas and electricity costs are putting a heavy strain on competitiveness. On top of that, from October onwards, there will be the German government's planned gas levy, which will further burden us,” ArcelorMittal Germany’s CEO Reiner Blaschek said.
Blaschek called on politicians to urgently take action to “get energy prices under control immediately”.
Aluminum smelters in Europe have also been closing in recent weeks, due to sky-high energy prices.
In Germany, one of every six industrial companies feels forced to reduce production due to high energy prices, a survey by the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce, DIHK, showed at the end of July. Nearly a quarter of the companies forced to reduce production had already done so by end-July, and another one-quarter are in the process of scaling back production due to sky-high energy prices, according to the survey of 3,500 companies from all sectors and regions in Germany.
The energy-intensive industries and firms are particularly hit, as 32 percent of the companies plan to or have already started to reduce production and even halt entire production lines, the DIHK survey showed.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.