WALA complete: handover today

Incitec Pivot announced this morning the “completion of performance testing and handover” of its new brownfield ammonia plant at Waggaman, LA.

IPL will take over management and operation of the ammonia plant on 19 October (US time).

The project remains within the original budget of US$850 million.

The ammonia plant is expected to operate at an average of around 80 percent of capacity over the coming twelve months as it ramps up to full annual production rates.
Incitec Pivot press release, 10/19/2016

As I’ve mentioned before, while the project is within Incitec Pivot’s “original budget,” the Waggaman plant did cost significantly more than $850 million – but those cost over-runs were the liability of the EPC firm.

Waggaman was not supposed to be the first new world-scale plant across the finish line. Plants in Wever, IA, and Donaldsonville, LA, were both scheduled to be complete by now.

This officially makes Waggaman the first new US natural gas-fed ammonia plant to start up since … answers please in the comments below!

There are a few contenders for the most recent plant, each in its own category.

  • In 2001, Farmland Industries started up the last new ammonia plant in the US at Coffeyville, KS, but that uses a petroleum coke feedstock (now owned by CVR Partners).
  • In 2000, Coastal Corporation started up its plant at Freeport, TX (aka Oyster Creek, TX), but that was an old plant, originally built for Georgia-Pacific in 1978 at Plaquemine, LA (and now, possibly, being rebuilt at Pasadena, TX, by Pallas Nitrogen).
  • In 2000, Terra Industries started up the ammonia plant at Beaumont, TX, but that uses a hydrogen feedstock, the byproduct of methanol production (now owned by OCI).
  • In 1997, Dakota Gas started up at Beulah, ND, but they shipped in and rebuilt an old plant that had originally been built in 1968 by Sinclair Oil in Fort Madison, IA.
  • The Saskferco plant (now Yara) at Belle Plaine, SK, started up in 1992, but that’s in Canada – until now it was certainly the most recent world-scale natural gas ammonia plant in North America.

So what was the last big new natural gas ammonia plant in the US?


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