7 Oct 2022

Carbon dioxide shortage could shut down drinks bottling plant

9:14 pm on 7 October 2022
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Photo: 123rf

A major drinks bottler says it is on the verge of running out of carbon dioxide which would shut down production.

The drinks and food industry has been scrambling for weeks to find enough of the crucial gas used in chilling and as fizz.

The bottler, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it looked like they would run out on Sunday and their 24-hour plant would cease production until they got some more.

"Today's been the worst day in our history," they said.

They had been eating away at their stockpile of the gas since the Marsden Point Oil Refinery, the main manufacturer, shut down in April.

"Everyone has been rationing it."

Drinks production always ramped up ahead of summer, and things were now at a critical juncture, the bottler told RNZ - they might get some more on Monday but the market was "brutal".

The only local source of CO2 is Kapuni, in Taranaki, but it reduced its output to carry out planned maintenance some time ago.

Todd Energy, the owner of Kapuni, said CO2 production should resume in full this coming week.

However, Kapuni only supplies 40 percent of demand, with the rest shipped in from overseas.

Craft brewers warned this week that beer supplies might run short this summer for lack of the gas.

A chicken producer was reported in June to also be facing production cutbacks over CO2.

The Beverage Council said it was "very concerned some producers are about to run out of CO2, and we're hoping a permanent solution to the supply problem can be found".