Petro-chemical giant Nutrien announced Tuesday "the indefinite closure" of one of its four ammonia plants in Trinidad.
Layoffs of 50 workers are expected, effective October 30. This suspension of operations is in response to market conditions and lower global prices for ammonia, the Canadian-headquartered company said in a statement on its website. Newsday was told the plant in question to be shuttered will be PCS 03.
In a brief interview with Newsday, Nutrien's managing director Ian Walcott said the first adjustment will be offering a voluntary separation package to workers, which should be settled by October. Beyond that, if it becomes necessary the company may have to look at involuntary separation.
"This is a very difficult time but right now we are looking at the long term sustainability of the company," Walcott said. There will be no transfers or absorption of workers within other parts of the organisation at this time, he said, but the company is working on a suitable VSEP package and will try to assist in any way to make the transition as smooth as possible.
The company's other two plants and the associated urea facility will continue to operate at maximum capacity, it added. The other plant, PCS 02, was taken offline in May due to market conditions and is expected to come back online as conditions improve.
"Market conditions have pressed the need for the closure of the plant, which will result in a 15 per cent reduction in the workforce effective October 30. These changes will enable the facility to operate more efficiently, competitively and sustainably into the future."
The company added that it will be ensuring customers will be supported and there are no changes to existing supplier contractual agreements.