CF Industries shutters UK plants on soaring gas prices
Two UK fertiliser plants have been shuttered by their US owner because of soaring gas prices.
New York-listed CF Industries Holdings, which produces hydrogen and nitrogen products, said it was halting operations at both its Billingham and Ince UK manufacturing complexes due to high natural gas prices.
"The companies does not have an estimate for when production will resume," it said.
The Ince plant in Cheshire employs 400 people and produces around 1m tonnes of fertiliser a year. The Billingham facility in Stockton-on-Tees employs around 190 staff.
Gas prices have soared in recent months, hit by higher demand and supply issues. The previous prolonged winter drained storage levels across Europe, and Russia - the region’s biggest supplier - is sending less gas to the continent than before. There are now concerns of even further price hikes as the region heads into winter again.
Last month UK regulator Ofgem said it would increase the cap on its most widely used tariffs by around 13% because of the surge in wholesale gas prices. Chief executive Jonathan Brearley said at the time: "We can’t ask companies to sell energy for less than it costs them to buy it."
And earlier this week UK Steel, the trade body, warned that some steelmakers were being forced to suspend operations because of what it called "extortionate prices".