Europe’s biggest industrial firms have been banking on spring to bring down soaring energy costs. Those hopes faded this week as Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine. Smelters and chemical factories across Europe were already struggling before the invasion sparked another jump in gas and electricity prices. Now, a growing list of companies including Europe’s biggest chemicals maker BASF SE are warning the energy crisis will keep hacking away at their bottom lines for the foreseeable future. “Energy prices will stay at a high level and they won’t go back to normal soon,” said Martin Brudermueller, BASF’s chief executive officer. BASF already took an 800-million euro ($900 million) hit from rising gas prices in the fourth quarter, and the situation could worsen if the U.S. and Europe broaden sanctions against Russia, which supplies more than 40% of the European Union’s natural gas. “It would be very difficult to replace Russian […]