Cold stops Agrium production

Gas diverted to residential consumers during below-zero temps

Posted: Sunday, January 29, 2006

Agrium production shut down this week, but not due to some long, drawn-out contract dispute over its supply of natural gas.

This time, the immediate cause of the temporary closure was Mother Nature.

An exceptionally long run of temperatures below the minus 20-degree mark caused Kenai Peninsula natural gas to be diverted to the residential community.

“A couple days ago, Mother Nature diverted our gas to the utilities,” said Agrium spokesperson Lisa Parker on Friday.

On Monday, the Nikiski industrial concern shut down its urea plant and by Wednesday, its ammonia plant stopped production, as well.

Agrium has two urea plants and two ammonia plants at the complex, but was only operating one of each this winter partly due to tight gas supplies.

The closures this week did not result in any workers being sent home.

Parker said Agrium continued receiving a nominal amount of natural gas, “enough to keep the ammonia and urea plants warm.”

When asked when production would resume, she said the company is in a “wait and see” mode, depending on the weather.

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