UK: The UK market could face further CO2 shortages from next week when the government’s support to the company responsible for 60% of the UK’s CO2 comes to an end.
There are concerns that the CO2 supply shortages experienced in 2018 will be repeated due to the soaring energy prices.
CO2 is used across many industries, particularly in the food and brewery industries, as well as now becoming the principal refrigerant in supermarket refrigeration systems.
Around 60% of the UK’s supply of CO2 comes from the US-owned CF Fertilisers factory in Billingham as a by-product of its production of ammonium nitrate. Since October, the company has been receiving temporary financial support from the UK government after soaring energy prices threatened continued production at the CF plant. That deal is due to expire on Monday.
According to the British Frozen Foods Federation (BFFF), discussions between CF and the gas suppliers are continuing, but with only days to go and with energy prices still very high, the worry is that once again there will be further CO2 shortages.
The Federation confirmed that Defra had indicated that the government’s intervention was an exception, and no further support of that type will be given this time round.
Defra informed the group that, unlike in 2018, availability in the EU is good, although at a higher price. However, this may not equate to availability in the UK.