NPA to explore CO2 implications of decision to close Billingham ammonia plant
26th Jul 2023 / By Alistair Driver
The planned closure of CF Fertilisers’ Billingham ammonia plant does not pose any immediate threat to supplies of CO2 but potentially leaves the industry more vulnerable in future, the NPA has warned.
The company announced on Tuesday that it will permanently close the plant, which produced ammonia for fertiliser, with CO2 also produced as a by-product with various uses, including stunning pigs in abattoirs.
The plant has not been running for 10 months due to financial difficulties and, currently, CO2 for the meat processing sector is sourced from various outlets.
NPA chief policy adviser Rebecca Veale said: “The closure pose no immediate threat to CO2 supplies, but, longer-term, it reduces capacity and leaves the industry vulnerable to further closures, for example if multiple plants shut down for maintenance.”
“Fertiliser prices have already risen, so we must also be cognisant of the cost of producing grain – whilst availability is not an issue, it is a key component in the diet of our pig herd.”
Rebecca will attend a meeting tomorrow to discuss the wider implications of the decision.
NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw said the decision was ‘concerning’ and exposes the fertiliser market further to global volatility. “Availability of fertiliser is a crucial element of domestic food security and relying on importing ammonia from global markets exposes British fertiliser production to possible long-term risks,” he said.