Ammonia plants in Trinidad to see natgas cuts ending on Saturday

17 May 2013 20:34  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Energy officials in Trinidad on Friday announced that the on-going natural gas curtailment to ammonia plants caused by repairs to the offshore gas supply will end on Saturday.

Currently the rate of reduction is 15%, producer sources said this week, adding that production has been reduced by the same amount. Last month the cutbacks were ranging from 20-25%.

In a statement, National Gas Co. officials said the platform work would be finished 18 May and supply is expected to return to regular levels.

Producers in Trinidad have maintained that there is a definite, and almost equal, correlation between a reduction in gas and a drop in ammonia production.

Most of the product ends up in the US. Roughly 65% of US imports of ammonia comes from Trinidad.

Additional reductions in gas supply have been issued as Trinidad expects that from September to early October more substantial work on offshore installations will bump the rate between 20-30%.

A source said this has become routine course of operating in the island nation, and apart from these official gas restrictions that they have come to expect periods of curtailment.

Gas supply issues have been a source of aggravation for plant operators since 2010 as mandated curtailments have reduced production of ammonia. The restriction in the available supply has ranged as low as 10%-15% in recent months to as high as 40% in previous years.

PotashCorp officials earlier this month said issues with the curtailment are cutting production and that for the year they are down about 25,000 tons. The Canadian fertilizer producer estimates that for the year there will be approximately 100,000 tons less due to the cutbacks.

Major operators in that region include PotashCorp, which has four ammonia plants located at the Point Lisas complex, and Yara, who operates three plants at Point Lisas. It is estimated that the 11 ammonia plants within the island nation have a total capacity of 5.7m tonnes/year.

By: Mark Milam
+1 713 525 2653

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