Caribbean Nitrogen Company shuts down Ammonia plant, blames NGC
Caribbean Nitrogen Company [CNC] today announced that it has been forced to immediately shut down its ammonia plant on the Point Lisas Industrial Estate in Trinidad.
In a release issued today, the company said the shutdown is a result of action taken by the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (NGC) to cut off the gas supply to the plant.
Commenting on the plant shutdown, Jerome Dookie, CEO of CNC, said: “We had no choice but to shut down the plant to ensure the well-being of our people and protect our investment. Unfortunately, this action by NGC will negatively affect the future of our 110 loyal workers”.
It is also estimated that as many as 300 additional workers indirectly connected to the operations will also be affected.
“The situation is highly regrettable given that CNC has been in a dialogue with The National Gas Company for almost a year. CNC had even accepted multiple interim extensions of our gas supply, until yesterday, at a detrimental cost to itself. These extensions were implemented to facilitate further discussions between CNC and NGC to agree on the terms of a long-term gas supply contract.
"The NGC has, however, been unresponsive to the many concessions CNC has made, and unrealistic as to the global forces affecting not only CNC’s exports but Trinidad’s exports of ammonia, which must compete in the international marketplace. The NGC is unfortunately making Trinidad the world’s marginal producer of ammonia with its uneconomical pricing policies.”
The CNC CEO also referred to the Government’s intervention in the matter. “We acknowledge the efforts of the Government to assist in the resolution of this matter and the key role that it plays in maintaining the stability and sustainability of this vital sector in the National interest. Our sincere hope is that the Government understands our obligation to protect the interests of our employees, our partners, our customers and our shareholders.”
Dookie said: “The company regrets the negative impact the shutdown will have on everyone involved. While we remain committed to resolving all outstanding issues with The National Gas Company, we will also continue to explore all available options to protect our interests.
Loop contacted NGC Chairman Gerry Brooks who was in a board meeting and could not respond immediately.