Trinidad ammonia plants still facing 15% cutback in natgas

30 May 2013 20:41  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--An ammonia producer on Thursday said plants in Trinidad are operating under a 15% rate of natural gas curtailments despite energy officials’ assurances earlier this month that the cutbacks would be less constrictive.

The source said their plant operating official has said the curtailment is continuing at a rate of 15% less gas supply this week and indications received from energy officials is that this level will remain until at least mid-June.

Previously officials with the National Gas Company in Trinidad had said the 15% level experienced in gas restrictions to the ammonia plants for a period in May would be ending on 18 May and return to “regular levels thereafter”.

That reduction was attributed to necessary repair work needed in connection with the offshore gas platforms with producers pointing out that the cutbacks have reduced production by the same amount. In April, the curtailment were ranging from 20-25%. Most of the product ends up in the US as roughly 65% of domestic imports of ammonia come from Trinidad.

Looking ahead, further reductions in gas supply have been issued from September to early October as energy officials said there will be a significant increase as more substantial work on offshore installations will bump the rate upwards to a mark between 20-30%.

Gas supply issues have caused a decline in production of ammonia due to the ongoing series of reductions. The restriction in the available supply has ranged as low as 10% in recent months to as high as 40% in previous years.

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


By: Mark Milam



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