An MP says hundreds of jobs 'hang in the balance' after an American fertilisers company said it had to stop production.

CF Industries, a leading global manufacturer of hydrogen and nitrogen products, said it is halting operations at its Billingham manufacturing complex as well as it site in Ince, Cheshire due to high natural gas prices.

It said "The Company does not have an estimate for when production will resume at the facilities."

Back in April, the company said its international competitiveness "continues to be undermined" by planned new charges for its use of the national gas pipeline system.

It is one of a number of gas-intensive chemical and energy companies on Teesside using only a few miles of the network, and being protected from the full cost by a tarrif discount. But Ofgem adjusted the tarrif, which CF said represented a six-fold rise.

Alex Cunningham MP for Stockton North, said: Today’s announcement from CF Fertilisers is extremely concerning and the priority is to find a way forward to get CF Fertilisers producing again and ensure local jobs are saved. Today I will be contacting the secretary of state at BEIS seeking an urgent meeting to discuss just what they can do to help get CF producing again. 

The Northern Echo: MP Alex CunninghamMP Alex Cunningham


"I have lost count of the number of times I've told the government that energy prices, gas transportation charges and carbon costs driven by government policy was crippling firms like CF. It would appear that ministers didn't believe what was coming down the line and stuck their heads deep in the sand instead of taking action. 

Read more: Gas charges row

"Now hundreds of jobs in both my constituency and Cheshire hang in the balance alongside many others that are part of the CF supply and customer chain. This announcement is a result of the Government’s failure to act when they had numerous opportunities. It is imperative that they do so now."

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This news is a blow to hundreds of hard-working CF Fertilisers staff and their families, as they face uncertainty during this production pause.
“Now is the time for swift action, I’ve raised this issue with government previously and will continue to push the case, I'm in London today and will be contacting the Secretary of State for BEIS to understand what can be done to support our workers.
“We’ll work tirelessly with staff, CF Fertilisers management to see how we can protect these jobs for local people."

The Billingham plant, with a workforce of 190 people, is at the heart of the Teesside Chemical Industry and has many close links with neighbouring chemical companies where Ammonia and nitric acid are key raw materials.  The site consists of two main areas the Ammonia Plant and Portrack which supplements Ammonium Nitrate (Nitram) production from Ince.

The workforce constantly looks for ways to improve the sites productivity. With their innovation and investment the plants have all set new production records and significantly lowered carbon production. Billingham has its own laboratory where products are tested at many stages of manufacture to ensure they meet specifications before being released for sale. The laboratory also monitors site activities to ensure that strict environmental agreements are met with regard to effluent.

CF Fertilisers UK will continue to invest and manufacture at both its state-of-the-art Ince and Billingham sites, producing market leading fertilisers that make a real difference to farmers - optimising crop performance and yields.


Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated Teesside Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or contact 01325 505054