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Governor Concerned About Future of Agrium Plant
Offers state assistance to explore options for securing gas supply


December 15, 2004

Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski Tuesday in a teleconference with community leaders from the Kenai Peninsula, expressed concern about the potential closure of the Agrium nitrogen facility near Kenai in November 2005 and offered state help in assessing natural gas supply options.

"We can't afford to have that plant shut down," said Murkowski. "It is a tough time of year for Agrium's employees to learn this news. We're committed to doing what we can to keep the plant operating- and we need the support of the community in those efforts."

The governor initiated the teleconference after he learned today from Agrium officials that an agreement reached between Unocal and Agrium in a long-standing dispute will provide a gas supply to the plant only through October 2005. Agrium has indicated that the plant could be in jeopardy of closing in November 2005 if the company cannot secure future gas supplies.

The governor proposed forming a working group of state officials, Agrium representatives and community representatives, to assess alternatives with the hope of keeping the plant open and working beyond October 2005. The governor's goal is to assemble the working group in the next few weeks, with the expectation that it would begin work in early January. Staff from the governor's office, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Community & Economic Development, and the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority will participate from the state.

Alternatives the governor expects the group to address include additional natural gas exploration including on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and looking into the possibility of replacing natural gas generation with coal generation from the Healy Clean Coal facility.

"Closure of the Agrium plant would have an impact on the entire Kenai Peninsula, but especially on the cities of Kenai and Soldotna," said the governor. "I am vitally interested in doing what I can to explore all possible alternatives to keep Agrium employees and contractors on the job."

Agrium has 230 direct employees and 50 contractors working at its Kenai facility


Source of News Release:

Office of the Governor
Web Site


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