French tyre maker Michelin is making plans to stop using gas to produce electricity at factories in Spain, Germany and Italy as part of its contingency planning for a possible cut-off in Russian gas exports, a spokesman said.

Michelin uses gas to produce both power and steam, which is needed to cure tyres in a mould, giving them their final shape and tread pattern.

It is now preparing to save on its gas consumption by using it to produce only steam if needed, while buying electricity on the national grid, spokesman Herve Erschler said on Thursday, in response to a Reuters query.

Other measures that the group has put in place to prepare for an energy crunch include the conversion of its boilers so that they can run on oil, or even coal, as well as gas.

"We have not had a gas supply shutdown, but we do have plans to face all contingencies, reducing (the use of gas for) co-generation, converting the boilers that can be converted and re-tooling the others," Erschler said.

He declined to comment when asked if buying power on the grid would cost more for Michelin than producing it in its own factories.


(Reporting by Gilles Guillaume, writing by Silvia Aloisi; editing by Richard Lough)