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European competitiveness under pressure

Despite the crucial role that refineries and chemical plants fulfil in the European economy, the sector currently faces various challenges that put its competitiveness under pressure.

Competition from other continents is rising; in Russia, the Middle East and in emerging economies such as India and China increasingly larger refinery complexes are being constructed to meet the rapidly growing demand for energy. In addition, the US shale oil revolution has led to lower prices for raw materials and energy, and reduced European petroleum imports.

At the same time, Europe faces higher energy and labour costs, overcapacity, and extremely strict environmental legislation and regulations (which has also led to higher costs).

Furthermore, the legislation implemented by individual EU member states is frequently even more stringent. As a result, not only has European competitiveness vis-à-vis the rest of the world worsened, but also the competitiveness between individual EU member states.

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