Shaky Ground: Russia-Ukraine Gas Dispute Could Affect U.S. Fertilizer Supply

January 7, 2009 06:00 PM

Sara Muri, Top Producer Business & Crops Online Editor
Due to a pricing dispute, Russia's main gas company, Gazprom, has shut off gas supplies to neighboring Ukraine, Reuters reported earlier this week. The Russia-Ukraine dispute has already hit 18 countries, which depend on gas supplies from the two countries, as gas supplies were reduced or cut off in the last few days.
Tim Chrislip, director, product management and business development for CHS Crop Nutrients, says this is not the first time Russia and Ukraine have had uncertainty circling their gas supplies.
"It is a continuing saga,” he says of the situation. "When this has happened in the past, Russia and Ukraine have figured it out and gas has started to flow again. That's been the pattern, so we don't really know if will differ from that or if they'll get together tomorrow and gas will start flowing again.”
While the event is still unfolding, concern has already been raised on how this will affect U.S. fertilizer availability this spring. Chrislip says it is likely U.S. fertilizer supplies could be affected.
"Some of the nitrogen production in some countries has already been shut down,” he says. "It looks like it could very easily shut down additional urea capacity in the world, at a time when urea stocks are going to need to be built up before the spring season. It certainly could have an impact on supply availability for spring.”
Listen to Tim's comments: 
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