UK Business Secretary meets with energy bosses on soaring gas prices

LONDON, Sept. 18 (Reuters) – The British Foreign Secretary on Saturday held emergency meetings with the heads of the UK’s largest energy suppliers and operators to discuss a looming gas price hike a number of industries and could disrupt the country’s supply of meat.

The food industry has called on the government to subsidize carbon dioxide (CO2) production after high gas prices forced two fertilizer factories to close, stripping food producers of the CO2 byproduct used to stun them. animals before slaughter and vacuum-pack the feeds to extend their shelf life. Read more

Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng met with leaders of regulator Ofgem, National Grid (NG.L), Centrica (CNA.L) and EDF (EDF.PA) to discuss the “top priority” of energy security. saying convinced there was enough. ability to more than meet demand.

The government was prompted to act after European gas prices hit record highs after more than tripling this year, putting some small domestic suppliers out of harm’s way and threatening other interdependent sectors. Read more

“Energy security is a top priority,” Kwarteng said. “We are working closely with Ofgem and the gas operators to monitor supply and demand.”

The government said it was in regular contact with food and agricultural organizations. It also liaises with the Civilian Contingencies Secretariat which helps respond to civilian emergencies.

The CO2 shortage, which is also used to put fizzy in beer, cider and soft drinks, comes as the food industry is already grappling with a severe shortage of truck drivers, which has been blamed on the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit. .

Nick Allen, of the British Meat Processors Association, said on Saturday the pork industry was two weeks away from reaching tampons, while the British Poultry Council said its members were on a knife-edge as suppliers could not guarantee deliveries only up to 24 hours. hours in advance.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” Allen told Reuters, adding that given the exceptional circumstances, the government had to either subsidize the power supply to maintain fertilizer production or source CO2. elsewhere.

British Poultry Council chairman Richard Griffiths said he was working with the government to assess stock levels and implement contingency plans, warning that the disruption of the food supply could become a safety concern national.

If slaughterhouses ran out of CO2, pigs and chickens would be left on farms, creating additional problems with animal welfare, food supply and food waste, he said, adding: “We hope that this can be avoided with swift government action. “

Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Alexander Smith and Edmund Blair

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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