UPDATED 1 Sept: The EI library in London is temporarily closed to the public, as a precautionary measure in light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation. The Knowledge Service will still be answering email queries via email , or via live chats during working hours (09:15-17:00 GMT). Our e-library is always open for members here: eLibrary , for full-text access to over 200 e-books and millions of articles. Thank you for your patience.
Proposal to save UK energy-intensive businesses from closure
UK government Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is understood to have submitted a proposal to the Treasury under which steel, chemical and ceramics producers impacted by surging energy prices could be offered state-backed rescue loans in return for limiting bosses’ bonuses and dividends. The proposal is one of several options to save energy-intensive firms from closing in the face of increasing wholesale gas prices, which have surged 250% since the beginning of the year on the back of lower Russian gas supplies to Europe and burgeoning global demand for LNG, especially from Asia.
Meanwhile, the CO2 industry has come to an agreement to ensure UK businesses, including key sectors such as food processing and nuclear power, have access to a sustainable supply of CO2. Under the deal, CO2 suppliers will pay CF Fertilisers a price for the CO2 it produces that will enable it to continue operating while global gas prices remain high. The arrangement will stay in place until January 2022. CF produces around 60% of the UK’s commercial CO2 requirements.
In September, the UK government stepped in to provide financing to CF for three weeks so that it could continue operating. The government also temporarily exempted parts of the CO2 industry from competition law to facilitate the agreement and provide further security of CO2 supplies to UK businesses.
More recently, Ensus has reopened its Wilton plant following temporary closure for planned maintenance, securing further supplies. The Wilton plant can produce up to 40% of the UK’s CO2 requirements.