Possible expansion of Simplot facility discussed

Possible expansion of Simplot facility discussed

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ROCK SPRINGS – Simplot Phosphates asked the Rock Springs governing body for its support as a preliminary expansion to the facility was discussed.

EHSS Manager Darin Howe informed the council about the plans. The JR Simplot Company has approved preliminary engineering and permitting for an anhydrous ammonia production plant and related utilities to be constructed on Simplot property adjacent to the existing Simplot Phosphates Fertilizer Complex located a little over four miles south of Rock Springs.

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Howe said this new plant would allow them to produce anhydrous ammonia instead of importing this process feed material by railcar.

The ammonia plant will utilize natural gas as both a feedstock and fuel. A new natural gas pipeline and a upgraded electrical service will be necessary to support the new plant equipment. Councilman Clark Stith asked if water usage would go up. Howe replied the water supply they currently have should be adequate.

Also included in the expansion is 18,000 tons of ammonia storage as part of the facility. The ammonia storage tank will operate at atmospheric pressure. The ammonia plant will be designed to run 350 days per year with a minimum on-stream availability factor of 97 percent.

The plant will be capable of operating at a turndown ratio of 50 percent of the design capacity while still meeting all required product specifications. The plant and associated utilities will be designed for a life cycle of 25 years. Also, a minimum of three years between major planned maintenance shutdowns will be specified. The ammonia plant will provide in excess of 100,000 lb/hr of process steam for use in the existing phosphate complex.

Howe said they were currently in the permitting process with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality’s Industrial Siting and Air Quality Control Divisions. Simplot submitted the air quality permit application in July of 2013 and anticipate submitting the ISD application in March of 2014. The ISD public hearing for the project is anticipated during the second quarter of 2014.

Simplot is also working with Questar Pipeline Company and Rocky Mountain Power for the ROW permitting with the Bureau of Land Management and private landowners. Plans of development were submitted to the BLM last month. This preliminary work should be completed by early summer of 2014.

This is where Howe asked for support from the city. He explained that, during the DEQ permitting process, they will send a letter to the city requesting information. Howe said they were in front of the city council to inform them about the project as part of the public outreach process and to let them know letters would be sent to the city. Howe asked the governing body to support them during the permitting process.

“This is a very significant project for Simplot,” Howe said. “It is a sustainable project for us and we are very excited about the project.”

Construction is anticipated from June of 2014 through early 2016. Construction manpower is anticipated to peak around 440 workers during the second quarter of 2015. An initial housing analysis is favorable for this construction time frame. Upon completion of construction, an estimated 25 additional full-time positions will be necessary to operate and support the new facilities.

A company from Germany will be in charge of the construction. Councilman Rob Zotti asked if Howe knew if they were going to do any contracting with local contractors. Howe said he did not know but said with their recent expansion project, they did use several local contractors.

Public communication for the facility is occurring in January and February of this year culminating with a public open house at the Sweetwater County Fire District No. 1 conference room from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6.