Incitec plans ammonia plant near New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Australian fertilizer and explosives company Incitec Pivot Ltd. plans to build an $850 million ammonia production plant where another ammonia plant once stood on the Mississippi River 20 miles from New Orleans.

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 posted Wednesday on its website.

The plans are scaled up a bit from those Gov. Bobby 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 Chemical Co., which owns the site in Waggaman. Pay would average $58,000 a year plus benefits, they said.

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

Incitec subsidiary Dyno Nobel Louisiana Ammonia LLC has a contract with KBR Inc. to engineer and build the plant, which will use KBR's ammonia technology, Incitec Company Secretary Kerry Gleeson said in the statement.

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.

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

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 Intertec 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.