Fort Saskatchewan Completes Major Turnaround
Published: Nov 01, 2023
In the third quarter, Nutrien’s Fort Saskatchewan Operations team successfully completed its largest-ever turnaround. This planned activity occurs every five years to replace or overhaul equipment, complete preventative maintenance, conduct regulatory inspections and control room upgrades, and implement safety or operational improvements.
This project was larger than past turnarounds as it included a major replacement of the ammonia plant reformer as well as other equipment improvements. Combined, these enhancements are designed to deliver a slight production capacity increase, improve energy efficiency, and reduce CO2e emissions by over 14,000 metric tonnes per year – equivalent to taking more than 4,200 cars off the road – while reducing Fort Saskatchewan’s operating costs.
While there are many factors that lead to a successful turnaround, Ted Sawchuk, General Manager of the Fort Saskatchewan nitrogen facility, says it’s the people that made the project successful. “Their dedication, technical knowledge, and ownership was truly amazing and would make anyone proud to see. We also received support from other Nutrien nitrogen facilities including Carseland, Redwater, and Joffre as well as Nutrien’s Engineering, Technology & Capital team.”
As a result of this collaborative effort, the turnaround was completed on budget, on schedule, and incorporated many process safety improvements. “We could not have completed the turnaround without the expertise and dedication of our talented team of employees and contractors, and I thank them all for their efforts,” Ted adds.
Boost to local economy
The turnaround created more than 1,000 short-term contractor jobs, which provided a boost to the local economy ranging from worker accommodations, restaurant meals, fuel, and other daily supplies.
“With the global population expected to reach 10 billion by 2050, Nutrien’s purpose of Feeding the Future has never been more important,” says Ted. “Our turnaround will keep our facility running efficiently so that we can continue to produce fertilizer products that increase crop yields and help fight food insecurity.”
Thank-you to our community
While the turnaround was good news for the local economy, it also brought more traffic around the site. The team moderated that by keeping its stakeholders regularly informed of its maintenance activities. “I want to thank our neighbors for their patience and understanding while we performed this vital work,” Ted says.
About Fort Saskatchewan
The Fort Saskatchewan facility is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and employs about 150 employees and contractors who work to safely produce more than 0.6 million tonnes of nitrogen fertilizers each year.
Nutrien Fort Saskatchewan aims to make a positive impact in the community by working with partner organizations that support food security, community resilience, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and environmental stewardship. Some of its long-standing partners include the United Way, the Alberta Conservation Association, local schools and the Fort Saskatchewan Food Gatherers Society. They are proud to support some of the great initiatives that bring together the community such as Canada Day activities, the Fort Saskatchewan trade show, farmers market, and agricultural society events.
Check out this video to see how the Fort Saskatchewan site and Project Forest transformed industrial lands into a 17-hectare forest.