Oil and Gas

Banning Russian energy imports could throw Germany into historic crisis -BASF CEO

FRANKFURT, March 31 (Reuters) - Germany could face its biggest economic crisis in nearly 80 years should imports of Russian gas and oil be stopped or disrupted in the long-term, the chief executive of BASF, one of the country’s biggest electricity consumers, said.

“This could throw the German economy into its biggest crisis since the end of World War Two,” Martin Brudermueller told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, adding this posed an existential threat to Germany’s small and medium-sized businesses.

Brudermueller rejected calls for an import ban, saying such a move would be irresponsible.

BASF, the world’s largest chemicals group, on Wednesday said it would have to stop production if natural gas supplies fell to less than half its needs, warning of the damage to its operations from Europe’s power crunch.

The comment come as Germany triggered an emergency plan to manage gas supplies that could see Europe’s largest economy ration power if a standoff over a Russian demand to pay for fuel with roubles disrupts or halts supplies. (Reporting by Christoph Steitz Editing by Marguerita Choy)