Mexico is the latest country to be hit by the carbon dioxide (CO2) supply shortage.
The problem has been described as “significant” and is in part borne out of similar issues being experienced in Europe – a problem with the ammonia plants and production reliability – which is the main source of CO2 in Mexico. However, the difference here is the cost and reliability of natural gas supplies to the ammonia plants.
All such source plants are state owned and operated by oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex). On the supply of CO2 to the merchant market, virtually all of the liquid is a by-product of the hydrocarbon industry, including ammonia, reformer, and ethylene oxide, for example.
According to sources, the companies affected are mainly the gas companies such as Praxair, Linde and Infra Group (Air Products), who in turn provide CO2 to the producers of beverages producers.
Sam A. Rushing, President of Advanced Cryogenics, said in the state of Vera Cruz, there are three main sources of CO2 which come from fertiliser plants (ammonia production), which have apparently all suffered outages.
“There have been plans moving forward to produce urea from the ammonia production by Pemex, which will in turn reduce available CO2 going to the gas companies. Towards this end, Pemex claims a new ammonia plant may be built which would at least replace some of this lost CO2 by-product as well.”
“Natural gas availability and urea production tests have been major reasons for curtailments – some of this is cited by Pemex. However, it is unclear as to further explanations.”
Today, it is understood that approximately 80% of the CO2 plants in Mexico are operating. But, Rushing said during the last month, probably all CO2 plants had experienced outages due to low raw CO2 supplies.
“It can be stated with cautious optimism that in the next few months ahead, the shortages and unreliable delivery of CO2 raw gas to the CO2 plants will return to a closer state of normalcy.”
gasworld first broke the news of the CO2 supply shortage in Europe, described by those who have worked in the industry for more than 25 years as the “worst supply situation to hit the European CO2 business in decades” last week.
gasworld aims to keep you updated as and when the situation changes.