According to the Japanese KK Gas Review, carbon dioxide and dry ice are in short supply due to a couple of contributing factors.
The Japanese summer calls for peak demand of these two resources, but with some facilities damaged by the earthquake and others capping electricity use to meet policy demands, the two commodities may be in short supply.
In particular, supply sources to the Kanto Area suffered damage from the earthquake. Similarly, the Cosmos oil plant in Chiba was shut down due to a butane storage tank fire, while the Air Water plant in Kashima called a temporary halt to outside tank delivery.
The facilities have monthly production of 2,300 tons and 4,000 tons respectively. According to KK Gas Review, this accounts for 10% of the overall supply into the Kanto vicinity and as such make recovery, “an urgent matter”.
Simultaneously, the nuclear power plant incident has incited a 15% consumption reduction for all major users served by Tokyo Electric Power.
Ordinarily, summer sees carbon dioxide facilities produce at full capacity, however due to the power saving measures, there is some concern that usual capacity will not be reached.
Nevertheless, market leaders are keen to ride-out any downturn in supply with stabilising approaches. KK Gas Review summarised the situation: “No matter how pressing the situation is, the industry has always given preference to a stable supply. In 2011 however, the industry does seem to have a summer of trial during which it will work out scenarios involving all kinds of possibilities, as it gets ready for a shortage of sources and an increase in demand.”