Minister of National Security Stuart Young

Stories by Gail Alexander

National Security Minister Stuart Young yesterday reiterated that Nutrien Ltd was not sending home any workers although it had decided to shut down one of its five plants at the Pt Lisas Industrial Estate.

Responding to Opposition concerns on the perceived “shutdown” of the Nutrien plant, Young noted the global phenomenon in the energy industry as commodity markets were affected by the COVID-19 situation.

“Demand for oil and gas is completely wiped out so supply is affected…Government has no control over that, it’s part of the COVID problem,” he said

But Young said there’s been no Nutrien shutdown.

“They’ve decided to put one of their five plants into ‘idle’ for 90 days and they’re not letting go workers in this period. We’re monitoring it,” he said.

Young said it was fortunate Government has good relations with the Pt Lisas Industrial Estate operators.

“They’re doing the best they can to minimise dislocation, there will be some fallout but we’re doing what we can to minimise job loss,” he said.

On reports that 40 workers were let go, Young said Nutrien said they had no intention of shutting down and Government is monitoring it.

“Let’s see what happens…as we go through the COVID situation,” he said, adding it was unfortunate people were affected.

Young, however, denied the Nutrien situation was affecting ammonia supply to farmers. He said four of Nutrien’s five plants produce ammonia and one does urea. He said the idle plant is one that does ammonia but none of Nutrien’s ammonia is sold locally.

He added that the urea plant continues supplying the local agri-market, saying he spoke to Nutrien yesterday and there was no effect on urea supply.

On another issue, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat clarified that there had been no increase in LPG 20-pound gas cylinder prices.

However, he said the transport fee by private delivery was raised recently from $4 to $7. The $4 price existed for 15 years, he added.

The delivery price for the 100-pound cylinder wasn’t increased and the price of both sizes of cylinders also remain the same.