There has been much recent discussion regarding the market for HCFC-22 in 2012, as the EPA works to finalize its allocation and production rights for 2012-2014. Here are some basic facts HARDI wanted to communicate to our membership.
1.) There is an ongoing EPA rulemaking concerning the allocation of refrigerants, including R-22 for 2012-2014. The EPA has suggested a reduction of allocation rights of R-22 between 11% and 47% in each year (2012-2014). EPA’s proposed reduction was not unexpected.
2.) While the rulemaking process is underway, it is illegal for a company to produce or import refrigerant into the United States. The EPA therefore must send out a “non-enforcement” letter, which allows companies to legally produce or import refrigerant. This letter was expected by many companies to arrive the first week of January; however it was delayed until Friday, January 20. Thereby 15 work days had passed where no refrigeration production or importation occurred.
3.) The EPA's "non-enforcement" letter called for a 17% reduction from the original R-22 baseline, or a 45% reduction off of the 2011 allocation. In 2011 the total R-22 allocation was approximately 100 million pounds. Currently manufacturers and producers are operating under guidance that only 55 million pounds will be approved in 2012. If the finalized rule calls for less than a 45% reduction, a manufacturer/producer could produce and import up to their allocated amount.
4.) From 2005-2010 (2011 data is not yet available), only 77% of Consumption Allowances for HCFC-22 were used. These figures along with comment from stakeholders to the EPA, regarding the oversupply of R-22 in the marketplace, have led EPA to consider a more aggressive phasedown.