ENID — A subsidiary of Koch Industries Inc. plans to spend about $1 billion to build a new urea plant and revamp existing processes at the company's facility here, increasing fertilizer production by more than a million tons a year.
“The investment we are making through Koch Nitrogen underscores our confidence in the future of our overall fertilizer business and our commitment to customers for the long-term,” Koch President David Robertson said in a news release. “In addition to the significant increase in capacity, this investment will serve to improve our operational efficiency and competitive position in North America.”
Koch's planned improvements will be implemented in stages over the next few years, with construction of the new plant beginning late next year. The plant is expected to be operational in 2016.
Wichita-based Koch bought the Enid plant in 2003 from bankrupt Farmland Industries. It completed a $20 million expansion project in 2011 that included a 10,000-square-foot control center to automate many of the plant's operations.
The Enid facility, which was built in 1974, is one of the largest fertilizer plants in North America. It produces ammonia, granular urea and urea ammonium nitrate, or UAN.
“As crop production increases throughout North America, we are seeing an increasing demand for fertilizer from our customers,” said Steve Packebush, president of Koch Fertilizer LLC.
“With this additional production, we'll be in a much better position to meet that demand. We look forward to breaking ground on this project, while continuing to evaluate enhancements at our four other North American facilities.”
The Enid plant employs 143 people with payroll and benefits totaling nearly $14 million a year.
The planned improvements are expected to bring as many as 30 more permanent employees to the plant. Construction could create at least 500 jobs over the next 18 months to 24 months.
As crop production increases throughout North America, we are seeing an increasing demand for fertilizer from our customers. With this additional production, we'll be in a much better position to meet that demand.”
President of Koch Fertilizer LLC