Agrium USA is looking for more natural gas in an effort to prolong its North Kenai operations beyond October, according to spokesperson Lisa Parker.
The company has one of two ammonia and one of two urea plants running currently, employing about 170 people, down from the 230 it employs during peak operations.
Last July, Agrium negotiated contracts to supply enough natural gas to stay producing at half-capacity through October of this year. Until that point, the company had expected to shut down operations at all its facilities last October.
Last week the company sent out a request for proposals to all the natural gas producers in Cook Inlet in hopes of negotiating a workable price, Parker said.
“We are still trying to do everything we can to keep our facilities operational,” she said.
Parker said the company should know by mid-May if it is able to acquire enough gas to do that.
Though Parker would not disclose the price Agrium is willing to pay for the gas, the company historically has paid less than $2 per thousand cubic feet.
The results of Agrium’s feasibility study for the Blue Sky Project, which examines the possibility of opening the Beluga coal fields and building a plant to gasify that coal for use in its fertilizer operations, is expected by early summer.
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