23 October 2013 20:43 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Agrium has applied for an environmental permit from Alaska regulators for its idled nitrogen plant that was shuttered due to a natural gas shortage, but the Canadian fertilizer producer said on Wednesday that it has yet to finalise a decision on restarting the facility.
Officials said the application submitted to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is for a permit for Prevention of Significant Determination and that the process typically takes a year to complete.
Agrium has not determined yet whether it will be feasible to commence operations again at the Kenai plant located in Nikiski, Alaska, but recently Chief Operating Officer Chuck Magro said that a decision will be forthcoming within the next year.
“The lead time necessary to acquire this permit requires that we begin the process now so that we are in a position to begin work on the facility if there was a decision to proceed. There are still several key hurdles that must be addressed before any decision can be made, and it is important to note that Agrium could withdraw the permit application in the event of an internal decision to not proceed with the expansion project,” said a spokesperson with Agrium.
A review of the equipment and facility assessment was conducted this past summer as company officials previously said that overall market conditions had raised the possibility of resuming production.
Agrium shut the plant in 2007 when gas supplies tightened. The plant was purchased by the company in 2000 from Union Oil Co of California, and during its operation, was the company’s largest facility. It had a listed production capacity of 1.25m tonne/year and primarily sold to overseas buyers.
Current limitations with the existing natural gas supply in the area is the primary obstacle in restarting the facility but Agrium has engaged in discussions with local providers to determine if that issue could be resolved in the future.
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