More Than 400 Jobs Impacted as Ammonia Plant Closes Operations

Caribbean Nitrogen Company's ammonia plant at Point Lisas Industrial Estate in central Trinidad.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Caribbean Nitrogen Company (CNC) Wednesday announced the immediate closure of its ammonia plant on the Point Lisas Industrial Estate in central Trinidad resulting in the loss of an estimated 400 jobs.

The company said that the closure was due to the action taken by the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (NGC) to cut off gas supply to the plant.

“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,” said CNC chief executive officer, Jerome Dookie.

“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,” Dookie said.

He said that the NGC is “unfortunately making Trinidad the world’s marginal producer of ammonia with its uneconomical pricing policies” noting that the government had also intervened and attempted to assist in resolving the matter.

“Our sincere hope is that the government understands our obligation to protect the interests of our employees, our partners, our customers and our shareholders,” he said, adding “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”
According to the group’s website, CNC is privately owned by subsidiaries of three multinational companies, namely The Proman Group, Koch Ag & Energy Solutions, LLC and EOG Resources.

NGC has not yet responded to the allegations. – CMC