Unplanned maintenance on a compressor at a Pryor chemical plant will cause LSB Industries Inc. to shut down ammonia production for up to eight weeks, the Oklahoma City-based company said Wednesday.
LSB said the shutdown is expected to cause a loss of about $2 million in operating income per week until production resumes.
Trading in LSB shares was delayed about an hour after the market opened Wednesday. In heavy, midday trading, the stock was down more than 6 percent to $31.56 on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Pryor plant shutdown comes just a week after LSB reported a pipe rupture at a plant in Alabama that will cause ammonia production there to be stopped for several months. LSB earlier this year took the Pryor plant offline after finding excess heat on a pipe. It also reported an explosion at an Arkansas chemical plant.
Tony Shelby, chief financial officer, said the Pryor and Alabama plant shutdowns mean the company isn't currently producing much ammonia.
“In both cases, if we can get them back up shortly, it's a very strong market right now,” Shelby said. “The outlook for the longer term is also very positive because of lower natural gas prices.”
LSB said it planned to install a replacement ammonia converter at the Pryor plant, a move that is expected to improve the production capacity of the ammonia plant. That maintenance was already planned for January.
“The compressor is a big piece of rotating equipment and we had a surge there that caused some damage internally, so we had to shut the plant down, take the compressor out and rework it,” Shelby said Wednesday. “Since we already had this other planned maintenance in January, we decided to pull it up.”
LSB said in May it would spend $6.5 million on parts and components to make repairs and refurbishments at its chemical plants.