Carbon Dioxide: Shortages

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 28th June 2018.

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Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Minister (International Trade)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assurances his Department has received from gas supply companies that (a) the CO2 shortage will be tackled as a priority and (b) steps are being taken to ensure that food supplies in the UK are not disrupted.

Photo of Andrew Griffiths Andrew Griffiths Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

We are aware that an international carbon dioxide shortage has affected a number of industries across Europe, including the UK. We have been assured CO2 producers are working as fast as they can to get plants up and running again, with CO2 production set to start very shortly.

BEIS Ministers have had discussions with producers and suppliers. BEIS and Defra officials are in contact with relevant companies and trade associations, including those within the food and drink sector and the main carbon dioxide suppliers, to identify any obstacles to the re-establishment of normal supplies.

Defra is in regular contact with the food and drink industry by convening their long-established Food Chain Emergency Liaison Group and other interested stakeholders. All of these stakeholders have made an important contribution to our understanding of the impacts on the food and drink sector.

Capacity to produce carbon dioxide reduces annually at this time as the ammonia plants that produce it as a by-product close for annual maintenance while the demand for their primary product – ammonia used for fertiliser – is lower. However, this year supplies have been reduced due to problems in restarting some plants on schedule and a number of outages at other plants both in the UK and internationally.

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