Agrium expects Redwater fertilizer plant operational by next week

06 November 2013 23:14  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Agrium’s nitrogen plant at Redwater, Alberta, has completed the repairs that forced a temporary outage in mid-October and is expected to be back operational by next week, the Canadian fertilizer producer said on Wednesday.

Originally, Agrium had projected the plant being down until 20 November, but company officials said that the work has been completed and has undergone technical inspections. Barring any unforeseen difficulties, the plant should resume production of ammonia and urea.

The reduced ammonia availability is anticipated to result in a lower operating rate for the phosphate plant at the Redwater facility for the Q4 period. The Redwater nitrogen plant produces 680,000 tonnes of ammonia, 720,000 tonnes of urea, as well as lesser volumes of nitrogen solutions, industrial ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulphate.

This is the second time this year the facility has suffered with equipment deficiencies. In May, the Redwater plant underwent a one-month turnaround after there were issues with a heat exchanger.

Unfortunately, Redwater experienced the same problem again in October that it did in May. This is a heat exchanger that probably has the most severe conditions in the plant. The good news is that we're mechanically complete on the repair. We did do an advanced technique inspection on the tubes, so we feel a little more confident going forward,” said Ronald Wilkinson, Agrium senior vice president.

“We expect the plant to be back up next week. The exchanger in question, we've ordered a replacement. It's scheduled to arrive next May. So we'll look for an opportunity to replace that exchanger once it's arrived in Redwater.

Agrium has also been having issues with the Carseland facility, which produces ammonia and urea, but officials said that it was operational before the end of October. During a conference call th,e company said there was an issue this week with the facility that caused a short outage, but that the plant has restarted.

“We had a trip just from the lube oil system, but the plant is just restarting so we don't expect any lingering effects there, and we expect the plant to run,” Wilkinson said.

By: Mark Milam
+1 713 525 2653

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