Fertiliser manufacturer Incitec Pivot has ramped up its production of AdBlue at its Gibson Island plant in Brisbane by around 800 per cent.
With federal government support of $29.4 million, Incitec Pivot produced over 3 million litres of the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) last week, which is equivalent to around 75 per cent of Australia’s AdBlue needs, a statement from federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor said.
Incitec Pivot has also commissioned a dedicated AdBlue distribution facility in Brisbane, which has the capacity to load the equivalent of three B-doubles per hour.
The Gibson Island plant, however, is due to close at the end of the year.
“Temporarily securing our local capabilities through Incitec Pivot has been complemented by the government’s ongoing work to secure additional international supplies and our work with industry to manage stock supplies nationally,” said Taylor.
“Other local AdBlue manufacturers continue to play an important role in the supply chain through production and distribution, with the government assisting these businesses by facilitating commercial supplies from overseas through our diplomatic network.”
As a result of these collaborative efforts, Taylor said the government has managed to largely overcome many localised stock-outs at priority sites across the country, including the Hume Highway, the Riverina and South Coast of NSW.
“Although AdBlue users may continue to see a few sites occasionally stocked-out, they can be reassured that with the new AdBlue supply coming into the market, these sites are now being progressively replenished,” he said.
“I thank Incitec Pivot for stepping up as we work together to keep our trucks fuelled and Australian diesel motorists on the road.
“The company has already ramped up production to over 3 million litres per week and this milestone is great news. While Australia currently has sufficient volumes of AdBlue to meet its needs, this local production will help restore normal national stock levels.”
To ensure stocks can be replenished across the country after a shortage caused by China halting the export of urea, the key ingredient, Taylor said he continues to encourage industry to purchase AdBlue only when needed and at normal levels.
A few days after the government stepped in to help boost local production levels, the industry department quietly gave consulting giant McKinsey a $319,000 contract for a month’s work on “supply and demand analysis, forecasting and presentation of data relating to Diesel Exhaust Fluid”, reports innovationaus.com.
The McKinsey contract is scheduled to end later this month and the department declined to say exactly what it will produce.
Meanwhile, as part of the partnership with the government, Incitec Pivot will shortly begin trialing the production of technical grade urea (TGU) with an additive sourced from Germany.
Incitec Pivot managing director and CEO Jeanne Johns said the company has been working with wholesalers on demand forecasts to support ongoing distribution of the increased AdBlue volumes.
When Australia’s AdBlue supply shortage is less critical, Incitec Pivot plans to undertake a manufacturing assessment to produce technical grade urea – a granulated (non-liquid) form of urea that can be supplied to Australian AdBlue blenders to manufacture liquid AdBlue.
If the manufacturing assessment is successful, Incitec Pivot would produce technical grade urea, in addition to manufacturing AdBlue.
Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) praised national efforts in ramping up local AdBlue production to help get the immediate situation under control.
CEO Todd Hacking added that confirmation of local supply should offer confidence that the issue is being resolved, so there is no need to stockpile AdBlue.
Road Freight NSW CEO Simon O’Hara said the government needed to act when they did.
“It’s a rare thing that you get the Prime Minister declaring victory on something you’ve raised within your newsletter back in November, so that’s definitely a win for the advocacy of Road Freight New South Wales,” he said.