Incitec Pivot plant fails yet again, this time twice

Fertiliser and explosives group Incitec Pivot’s trouble-plagued Waggaman ammonia plant in the US (pictured) has failed yet again, this time twice in only a matter of weeks.

Last month @AuManufacturing reported that the plant broke down on March 17 ‘as a result of a dry gas seal failure and vibrations in the turbine on the induced draft fan’.

This followed another plant failure which was under repair until March when the 800,000 tonne a year plant was re-started.

Now the company has told investors that the plant operated from mid-April ‘and operated successfully at nameplate capacity for two weeks, when the plant unexpectedly tripped upon the failure of a vibration probe.

“Following repairs, the subsequent re-start process was stopped on 8 May due to a coupling failure on the refrigeration compressor, upon which the plant was safely shut down.”

The original series of breakdowns have cost the company $80 million in repairs and lost production, with the latest failures estimated to cost between $33 million and $42 million in lost profit.

Incitec Pivot said: “Bringing the Waggaman plant back to full operation is IPL’s highest priority, with all appropriate internal and external resources being deployed to achieve this.

“Based on current information, the repairs and re-start are expected to take two to three weeks.”

In recent times Incitec Pivot has had problems with ammonium nitrate plants in Louisiana, Missouri and Cheyenne, Wyoming which have now been resolved.

Other recent problems include a $60 million cost associated with a rail outage in Queensland, $16 million from a third party gas pipeline rupture in the US and $65 million from outages of its Waggaman and Phosphate Hill fertiliser plants.

Picture: Incitec Pivot

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