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12 Jul, 2022 06:00

France could face blackouts without Russian gas — Michelin boss

The top executive says the tire manufacturer is prepared to run factories on oil and coal
France could face blackouts without Russian gas — Michelin boss

Energy-intensive businesses in France are currently preparing for possible power outages in the event of further reductions of natural gas supplies from Russia, says the CEO of Michelin, Florent Menegaux.

“What we’ve done is we’ve converted our boilers, so they’re capable of running on gas or oil, and we can even switch to coal if we need to,” Menegaux told Reuters on the sidelines of a business and economics conference in southern France over the weekend.

The country’s industrial majors have been pressing ahead with contingency plans to avoid disruptions amid grim warnings of a possible stoppage of Russian gas deliveries that are repeatedly issued by some EU leaders.

“The aim is to avoid having to shut down a plant in case we face a shortage,” he added, saying that while a gas cuts were likely, oil would still be available as an alternative.

According to Menegaux, it usually takes days to start tire production on a manufacturing line, making it vital to maintain a steady energy supply.

European nations have faced a substantial reduction in Russian energy since the EU unleashed sanctions on Moscow in response to its military operation in Ukraine. 

On Monday, Russia's Gazprom, suspended operation of both sections of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline to Europe because of scheduled maintenance that will last 10 days. Gas flow had already been reduced to 40% of capacity due to operational challenges, caused by the failure to return a serviced turbine on time from Canada due to sanctions.

Russia has stopped gas shipments to the nations that have refused to adopt the gas-for-rubles payment scheme introduced by Moscow. The countries affected include Finland, Poland, Bulgaria, Denmark’s Orsted, Dutch company GasTerra, and energy giant Shell for its German contracts.

On Sunday, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that the nation was preparing for a complete suspension of gas supplies from Russia, adding that the first line of defense is for households and businesses to reduce energy consumption. He also said that Paris was also looking company-by-company to see which could be forced to scale back production to save energy if necessary.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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