Two industrial sites that produce a combined 40 per cent of the UK’s fertiliser have been forced to halt operations due to recent record gas prices.
The Times reported that CF Industries had shuttered its plants at Billingham in Teesside and Ince in Cheshire as a direct result of the price spikes.
The closures came as gas prices hit record levels yesterday after a fire at a National Grid facility in Kent forced one of the UK’s crucial power interconnectors to close.
Prices closed in on £2 a therm yesterday, six times higher than a year ago.
As a result of the blaze, the 2 gigawatt cable, which connects the UK’s energy grid to France, will be offline for six months.
This further raises the prospect of an expensive winter for consumers in a market already tight due to a shortage of global gas supply.
In addition, a period of low wind speeds has seen the amount of wind power capacity produced by the UK drop off, leading the country to fire up some of its old coal generators.
As a result of rising prices, Ofgem has already been forced to hike bills for some 15m households by around 12 per cent from next month.
Two more energy suppliers were also forced out of the market this week as a result of the price surge, leaving 500,000 customers needing a new supplier.