Germany risks a toilet paper shortage because of Russia

Stopping gas supplies from Russia to Germany could seriously hit the local paper industry, which will affect the production of cardboard, packaging and even toilet paper. Jurgen Schaller, head of the Association of Paper Manufacturers of Bavaria, spoke about this in an interview with Die Zeit.

He admitted that he was very afraid of a complete shutdown of gas supplies via Nord Stream, as this threatened to cut production and have serious consequences for the entire industry. At the same time, Schaller is convinced that Russia will not go for a complete shutdown of gas, although he admits that the Russian authorities are deliberately "playing" with Europe. Supply restrictions will affect the habitual life of many Germans, the head of the association is sure.

“Paper is everywhere. Newspapers are clear to everyone, but we are also talking about packaging paper, about inserts for medicines. In addition, cardboard is found in hygiene products, such as toilet paper,” said Schaller.

The head of the association said that gas is one of the main components of the successful work of paper industry enterprises. The fuel is used to quickly dry the paper structures, the mechanisms heat the cardboard spools and paper bobbins with the help of steam. The technology has been used for a long time, and it is simply not possible to quickly switch to alternative heat sources. Schaller noted that the industry has moved to gas relatively recently, as the government has been urging people to move away from dirtier oil and coal in favor of cheaper, cleaner gas.

At the same time, there is no plan in the event of a complete shutdown of gas in the industry, Schaller admits. He notes that manufacturers are not aware of the plans of the federal government to reduce gas consumption, since no directives were issued by the authorities. However, Schaller understands that, most likely, consumption will have to be reduced, and with it, production.

“We do not know exactly what plans the Federal Network Agency has for us. But we must take into account the fact that at some point the gas supply for our industry will be limited. I think then we should slow down a bit, even though it would be difficult,” says the head of the association.

Commenting on the possibility of reducing consumption to 30% of normal volumes, Schaller said that his company would have to temporarily stop operations, and this causes serious concern for him and his employees.

“Many people in my company are already very concerned and I can't blame them. If we can only operate 50–60% of our capacity, then the business is unprofitable. To be honest, I'm also worried, ”Shaller admitted.

The Russian authorities continue to claim that they cannot increase gas supplies to Europe due to technical difficulties caused by Western sanctions. Bloomberg sources previously reported that Moscow is deliberately blackmailing Europe with low gas supplies in order to discord Europe's position on the war with Ukraine. The Kremlin hopes in this way to reduce Brussels' support for Kyiv and achieve sanctions concessions for itself. On Wednesday, July 27, Gazprom reduced gas supplies via Nord Stream to 20% of the gas pipeline's design capacity - from 65 million cubic meters to 35 million cubic meters of gas per day.

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