CF Industries making progress at $1.7-billion Port Neal expansio - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

CF Industries making progress at $1.7-billion Port Neal expansion project


CF Industries is well underway with its second major project right here in Siouxland. The nitrogen fertilizer complex is like no other site Woodbury County or the state of Iowa has ever seen.

The $1.7-billion CF Industries site is the largest one-time capital investment project the Iowa Economic Development Authority has supported with incentives in the state

The company is a wholesaler of nitrogen fertilizers. It already has one plant located near Salix, Iowa. This plant makes liquid fertilizer only.

At the site of their expansion, which will become part of their current plant complex, their main focus will be on making granular urea fertilizer.

But, the general manager at the expansion site said they still need a lot of manpower to complete their project.

"It's just a large size project. Right now, we're at roughly 20 to 25-percent of what we expect to be the full staff," DeRoos said.

Performance Contractors, based out of Louisiana, was picked as their "direct hire" construction company, meaning they will be in charge of most of the hiring.

"This is a fairly special job, in order to do a job of this magnitude, there's only a handful of firms in the country that can actually do this size of a job," DeRoos said.

Performance has brought in a lot of employees from outside the area.

"The fact is though, that this is a specialty construction project and we have a lot of crafts that in this area, we just don't have the numbers," DeRoos said.

But, DeRoos said despite that fact, there's still a good number of Siouxland employees working at the Port Neal Nitrogen complex.

"There's a lot of subcontractor work that's also awarded. We have a number of local contractors already working here," DeRoos said.

About 450 construction workers are employed at the site now, DeRoos expects the number could reach as high as 2,000 at the peak of the construction project.

DeRoos said Performance Contractors will have their temporary recruitment center up and running on Port Neal Road in a few weeks. He said he expects a lot more local advertising for work to start popping up in the next months or so.

After all the construction is done, DeRoos said the new complex will staff about 100 permanent employees.

Most of these positions have already been filled.

But, for now, they will continue to focus on making progress with their construction.

DeRoos said working through the winter months was a bit challenging, but they were able to install foundation piles.

And, now they're getting ready to pour mass foundations and do a lot more concrete work.

"We did a lot all winter long, but now that the weather's improved, the productivity's getting even better," DeRoos said.

DeRoos said the nitrogen fertilizer from their plant will feed into the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa.

He said the fertilizers are made from anhydrous ammonia. That anhydrous ammonia is produced from several reactions involving natural gas, steam, and air.

He said the U.S. imports roughly 50-percent of its fertilizer now, but with domestic natural gas prices being lower and fracking that's going on, it's a good time for CF to expand.

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