Sheffield Forgemasters hopes to avoid 'disruption' from gas price crisis

Sheffield Forgemasters hopes to avoid disruption from the gas crisis which has shut factories in the UK.

By David Walsh
Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 1:22 pm

The Brightside steelmaker said ‘volatile’ energy prices would have a ‘modest but manageable’ effect. Their energy arrangements offered a ‘level of protection’ against their worst effects.

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The firm spoke out after sharp rises in natural gas prices - some 250 per cent in the last year - forced the closure of two fertiliser plants. They produce carbon dioxide as a by-product, triggering alarm in the food and drink sector which relies on it.

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The 10,000 tonne press in action at Sheffield Forgemasters.

The increase also threatens energy companies who have thousands of customers on a fixed rate and customers on variable rates who face price hikes.

Stephen Hammell, chief financial officer at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: “We anticipate that the volatile energy prices currently affecting commercial and domestic supplies will have a modest but manageable effect on Sheffield Forgemasters.

“Our direct contracts with major suppliers, combined with forward hedging strategies, will offer a level of protection in the period before we expect energy prices to normalise. As such, we do not anticipate disruption to our operations.”

Steve Hammell.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has warned of 'difficult' months to come. But the government's cap on the average bill would remain, and there will be no bailouts for energy suppliers. However, he hinted that larger suppliers that agree to take on customers left in limbo could get support.

He had meetings on Saturday with major energy suppliers over gas price rises. He said on Twitter there is no “cause for immediate concern” over the supply of gas in the UK.

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.