Incitec Pivot’s Gibson Island manufacturing plant, which is due to close at the end of 2022 because it couldn’t secure an affordable gas supply, has answered the government’s SOS call to bolster local AdBlue supplies.
Under this agreement, Incitec Pivot will rapidly design, trial and, on completion of successful tests, scale-up manufacturing of significant quantities of technical grade granular urea (TGU), a critical component of AdBlue.
In a media statement today, Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said this announcement is a step in the right direction and it “provides the trucking industry with certainty”.
“Australia currently has adequate stocks of AdBlue stock on hand, but this agreement with Incitec Pivot will enable domestic production of TGU or supply of an AdBlue product to domestic manufacturers to ensure current supply chain disruptions don’t impact on Australian businesses,” Minister Taylor said.
“The ramping up of production by Incitec Pivot will be done without impacting agricultural fertiliser supply to local farmers or disrupting local distribution chains for AdBlue.”
Incitec Pivot currently supplies around 10 per cent of the Australian market for AdBlue solution and is the only Australian manufacturer to make the solution from urea melt. The remaining 90 per cent of the Australian AdBlue market is reliant on imports of technical grade urea.
Taylor also said there is enough urea in Australia to get truckies through the Christmas period, and that an additional 5000 tonnes of refined urea would be arriving from Indonesia in January.
“This is enough urea to make around an additional month’s worth of AdBlue,” he said.
Trade Minister Dan Tehan said Australia is leveraging “strong relationships with our international partners” to open up new sources of supply to meet our future needs for refined urea.
“We will continue to strengthen our close relationships around the world to support and further Australia’s interests,” Minister Tehan said.
The media statement also said that the government has been working with the manufacturers and the shipping companies to ensure shipments of urea and AdBlue that are already on their way to Australia are prioritised for loading and delivery.
“Shipping companies have been helpful in prioritising the loading of a number of containers coming through Singapore to ensure that supplies arrive in Australia as soon as possible. I would like to thank those companies that have supported and offered support to this effort,” Minister Taylor said.
He said this builds on work already underway by the AdBlue taskforce, led by James Fazzino, Chair of Manufacturing Australia and former CEO of Incitec Pivot, along with Andrew Liveris, former Chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company and Director at Saudi Aramco, and Dr Cathy Foley, Australia’s Chief Scientist.
The government has also engaged the National Coordination Mechanism (NCM) to ensure there is a joined-up approach and ongoing information sharing between government agencies and industry. The next NCM meeting with industry stakeholders will be held later today.
The statement also noted the industry concerns about price increases of AdBlue in recent weeks at the bowsers.
“The government understands that some pricing pressures may be normal in this situation, but expects suppliers to give customers a fair deal on AdBlue. ”