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Restrictions on gas consumption cause some companies to scale back

Restrictions on gas consumption for big consumers ordered by Hungarian gas transmission company FGSz have forced some companies to scale back or even halt production, while others able to use alternative fuels remain unaffected.

Restrictions on gas consumption cause some companies to scale back, halt production

FGSz announced restrictions on consumption of consumers that use more than 2,500 cubic meters of gas per hour late Tuesday, and it ordered restrictions for consumers that use 500-2,500 cubic meters of gas per hour early Wednesday.

Production at Magyar Suzuki's plant in Esztergom, near Budapest, was shut down at 10:00, communications director Viktória Ruska told MTI, confirming reports. Workers were sent home, but production is expected to start up again on Monday, she said.

The restrictions have not affected Audi Hungária, where gas is used in the production of some engine parts, but electricity is used for most of production, communications director Péter Lőre said. The production halls and offices at the plant in Győr (NW Hungary) use district heating, he added.

Production at aluminum giant Alcoa's unit in Hungary was cut after it was ordered to reduce its consumption from 11,000 cubic meters per hour to 7,000 by noon, Alcoa-Kofem technical director Gyula Maar said.

The Hungarian unit of US carbon fiber maker Zoltek cut production by three-fourths, CEO of the unit Sándor Horváth told MTI.

US-based AES's Tisza II, Hungary's second-biggest gas-fueled power plant, switched from gas entirely to oil on Wednesday, spokesman László Balla told MTI.

Other power plant heads also told MTI they had switched over to oil.

Aladár Kató, who heads the Hungarian unit of Austrian brick and tile maker Tondach, said gas consumption at Tondach Magyarország's four tile plants and one brick plant would be reduced from 5,100 to 600 cubic metres per hour by noon on Wednesday. As a result, one-third of product waiting to be fired in kilns will become scrap, he added. Restarting production will take several days, he said.

Tondach is sending home the afternoon shifts at all of its plants.

The Hungarian unit of brick maker Wienerberger shut down production at all three of its operating plants by noon, Wienerberger Téglaipari production manager József Kovács told MTI.

The Hungarian unit of Swiss cement giant Holcim has not been affected by the restrictions, because furnaces at its two plants are fueled with coal, not gas, communications director Irén Márta told MTI. Gas is only required when the furnaces are fired up, she added.

Ukrainian-owned Hungarian steel maker ISD Dunaferr is not affected by the current restriction as it cut its gas consumption earlier when it scaled back production because of the global economic crisis, CEO Valerij Naumenko told MTI. The company consumes just 5,000-5,500 cubic meters of gas an hour now, down from 28,000-30,000 cubic meters an hour when it operated at full capacity.

Ferihegy International Airport stopped heating with gas and switched over to oil on Wednesday morning, Domokos Szollár, the spokesman for airport operator Budapest Airport, told MTI. The airport uses about 4,000 square meters of gas per hour. (MTI – Econews)