Financial TimesFinancial Times

Germany confronts a broken business model

By Patricia Nilsson and Guy Chazan

06 Dec 2022 · 10 min read

Editor's Note

Russian natural gas was the cheap and bountiful source of energy that fueled German industry. With that now gone, the question is whether German industry can remain competitive. The FT dives deep.

Hives of activity don’t get bigger — and busier — than BASF’s headquarters in Ludwigshafen. The size of a small town, it’s the largest integrated chemical complex in the world, with one of Europe’s biggest wastewater treatment plants, its own hospital and fire brigade.

The lifeblood of Ludwigshafen is natural gas. It is the substance that courses through its dense network of pipes, the fuel for its power plants, the feedstock for its chemical processes. And Russia’s war in Ukraine has knocked out its main supplier.

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