Aussie firm plans ammonia plant near New Orleans

Australian fertilizer firm plans $850M ammonia plant 20 miles from New Orleans

Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- An Australian fertilizer company and a Jefferson Parish chemical company are investing $1 billion in a new ammonia plant and related improvements at a site 20 miles from New Orleans, Gov. Bobby Jindal said Wednesday.

The Dyno Nobel Americas plant will provide 65 jobs with salaries averaging more than $55,700 a year, officials said. Five will be employees of Dyno and the rest will work for Cornerstone Chemical Co., which owns the site in Waggaman.

Dyno's parent company, Incitec Pivot Ltd., of Southbank, Victoria, is investing $850 million.

The plant will be able to produce 800,000 metric tons — about 881,800 tons — of ammonia a year and the company has customers for all of it, according to an announcement that Incitec Pivot Ltd. posted Wednesday on its website.

Dyno Nobel, which Incitec described as North America's largest manufacturer of industrial explosives, will use 300,000 metric tons and the rest will go to Cornerstone and to Transammonia Inc.

Incitec Managing Director & CEO James Fazzino said the project is expected to pay for itself in less than five years.

State officials said it also will provide the foundation for Cornerstone to continue its planned investment of $175 million in maintenance, upgrades and infrastructure expansion at its site over a six-year period. It also will keep 441 existing Cornerstone jobs.

Both companies are expected to get Louisiana's industrial tax exemption and rebates under the state's quality jobs program, which provides a 5- or 6-percent cash rebate of annual gross payroll for new jobs for up to 10 years, and can provide a 4 percent sale and use tax rebate on capital spending or a 1.5 percent investment tax credit.

Cornerstone will also get a $3 million modernization tax credit over five years and use the state's job training program.

Dyno Nobel estimated that construction employment will peak at 750.

Incitec subsidiary Dyno Nobel Louisiana Ammonia LLC has a contract with KBR Inc. to engineer and build the plant, the Australian company said.

"This plant will set a new standard in clean, efficient ammonia production and will provide a significant economic benefit to the state and regional communities," Fazzino said.

The plans are scaled up a bit from those Jindal and Simon Atkinson, president of Incitec U.S. subsidiary Dyno Nobel International, described last May, when they said Dyno was making a $30 million feasibility study.

The company was then considering an $800 million plant that would produce 750,000 metric tons a year, creating 60 jobs — 10 for Dyno and 50 at Cornerstone.

Construction also apparently will take longer than initially planned, with production slated for the third quarter of 2016 rather than in late 2015.

The site is a brownfield — land where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by known or possible contamination. The site provides "infrastructure, including ammonia logistics and access to the U.S. ammonia market," Fazzino said.

He said Incitec was attracted by "a brownfield site, competitively-priced energy, labor productivity and responsive regulatory environment."

The ammonia plant will be the seventh worldwide for Incitec, the company said.

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