EU ‘sleep walking’ into new dependence on Russia – industry major — RT World News

The European Union is “Sleepwalking” To become dependent on Russian fertilisers, just as it did with natural gas, a major producer told the Financial Times.

Nitrogen fertilizers, widely used for plant growth, are made from natural gas, and the bloc is importing more and more crop nutrients from the sanctioned country, said Sven Tore Holsether, CEO of Norwegian chemicals producer Yara International.

“Fertilizers are the new gas” Hollister said. “The irony is that the goal is to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russia, and now we are sleepwalking towards delivering vital food and energy enrichment to Russia.” he added.

Russia is one of the world's largest producers and exporters of nitrogen-containing fertilizers. European Union imports of urea, a common nitrogen-based crop nutrient, doubled from Russia in the year ending June 2023 compared to the previous 12 months, the Financial Times reported, citing data from Eurostat.

While Russian urea imports have declined since the beginning of this year, they still account for about a third of total imports into the bloc. According to the European Commission, the European Union imported 24% of its total supply of nitrogen fertilizers from Russia, and Egypt was the second largest supplier at 22%.

Nitrogen-based crop nutrients are produced by mixing the chemical from the air with hydrogen from natural gas at high temperature and pressure. A rise in natural gas prices in 2022 after Western sanctions against Russia over the Ukrainian conflict also led to higher fertilizer prices, hurting European farmers financially. Meanwhile, Moscow saw its export revenue rise by 70% in 2022.

Fertilizer prices have since fallen along with natural gas prices, Holsether said, but Europe's fertilizer industry is still facing difficulties as Russian imports take a larger share of the market.

Western countries have not imposed any sanctions on Russia's food and fertilizer exports since the start of its military operation in Ukraine in February 2022. However, Moscow has complained that the sanctions are hampering exports because they make it difficult for traders to process payments or obtain ships and ships. insurance.

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