CF’s expansion project progressing positively

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR @DeRonTalley

The $2.1 billion capital investment in CF Industries’ Donaldsonville Nitrogen Complex announced in November 2012 is progressing on budget and on schedule, according to Curtis Fordham, Human Resources Manager.

The expansion project includes a Urea plant with annual production capacity of approximately 1.3 million tons which is scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2015; a UAN plant with annual production capacity of approximately 1.7 million tons which is scheduled to be completed in second half of 2015; an Ammonia plant with annual production capacity of approximately 1.2 million tons which is scheduled to be completed in early 2016; and infrastructure items including product tanks and warehouses and a fifth dock on the Mississippi River that will be used to load granular urea into barges.

The construction is taking place on approximately 100 acres of land that can be seen from LA Highway 70 after crossing to the west bank on the Sunshine Bridge.  Most of the cleared areas that are closest to LA 70 are temporary parking lots and equipment “lay down areas” that are needed during construction.  There is also a temporary concrete plant on the construction site. 

Some of the major construction highlights to date include more than 15,000 pilings with an average length of 70 feet that have been driven, with less than 500 still to be driven.  The characteristics of the construction site are typical for ground close to the Mississippi River in that it cannot adequately support weight without these pilings.  These pilings are needed to support the structures, piping and buildings that are part of the project; 180,000 tons of limestone has been used for temporary roads, parking lots and lay down yards; 140,000 tons of sand used as backfill; 800 tons of steel erected so far; and 40,000 tons of concrete.

CF currently has more than 1,700 contract workers onsite and expect that number to eclipse 2,500 later this year, according to Fordham. 

“These workers have worked more than one million hours to date and only one (1) OSHA recordable injury (broken finger tip) has occurred,” Fordham said. “The safety of our workers and full compliance with all environmental and health regulations continue to be our highest priority.”

“When the project was announced in November 2012, Governor [Bobby] Jindal stated the project would create an additional 93 direct CF positions, plus additional permanent contractors, to support our on-going operations after construction is complete,” Fordham said, “To date, 85 of these employees have been hired, and we continue the recruiting process to fill the remaining eight vacancies.”