NIKISKI, Alaska, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Agrium Inc. is shutting down an Alaska fertilizer plant, putting 140 people in the Kanai Peninsula out of work, the Canadian agriculture-products maker said.
The company, which relies on natural gas to make ammonia and urea fertilizers for export, blamed a gas shortage in Alaska’s Cook Inlet for the closure.
"Agrium has diligently attempted to encourage development of natural-gas supply and to negotiate contracts for 2008 and beyond," it said in a statement. "Despite these efforts, and after offering what it believed to be competitive prices and incentives, Agrium was unable to secure gas supply."
The plant will close in the next few days, the company said.
A spokeswoman told The Anchorage Daily News the company would offer severance packages, and some people may be able to transfer to other U.S. and Canadian Agrium plants.
"It is a sad day for us to have to close this facility which has added much value to the Alaskan economy for the past 40 years," President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Wilson said.
The facility produced about 325,000 tons of urea and ammonia during the five months it operated this year, the company said.