Road transport receives AdBlue lifeline

AdBlue supplies will receive a desperate boost with local manufacturer Incitec Pivot to secure local production of refined urea the Federal Government has announced.

An AdBlue Taskforce established by the Federal Government has struck an agreement with fertiliser manufacturer Incitec Pivot to rapidly design, trial and, on completion of successful tests, scale-up manufacturing of significant quantities of Technical Grade Granular Urea (TGU), a critical component of diesel exhaust fluid more commonly known as AdBlue.

Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor said the development was a step in the right direction as it provided the trucking industry with certainty.

“Australia currently has adequate stocks of AdBlue stock on hand, but this agreement with Incitec Pivot will enable domestic production of TGU or supply of an AdBlue product to domestic manufacturers to ensure current supply chain disruptions don’t impact on Australian businesses,” Taylor said.

“The ramping up of production by Incitec Pivot will be done without impacting agricultural fertiliser supply to local farmers or disrupting local distribution chains for AdBlue,” he said in the statement.

“This agreement is another important part of the Government’s broader strategy to build supply chain resilience, which includes addressing shipping issues, ensuring local supplies of critical products and bolstering local manufacturing capability.”

In November, Incitec Pivot announced it would stop making urea at its Gibson Island plant in Brisbane in 2022 because of a gas supply dispute.

Following outreach from Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan, the Australian embassy in Jakarta confirmed with the Indonesian Government that an offer made by Indonesia to provide 5,000 tonnes of refined urea in January had been accepted.

It was estimated that these volumes of urea would be enough to make around an additional month’s worth of AdBlue.

Minister Tehan said Australia is leveraging its strong relationships with international partners to open up new sources of supply to meet the future needs for refined urea.

“By working closely with our partners, we have been able to secure this critical supply for Australia. We will continue to strengthen our close relationships around the world to support and further Australia’s interests,” Tehan said.

The Government has been working with the manufacturers and the shipping companies to ensure shipments of urea and AdBlue that are already on their way to Australia to ensure they get priority for loading and delivery.

“Shipping companies have been helpful in prioritising the loading of a number of containers coming through Singapore to ensure that supplies arrive in Australia as soon as possible. I would like to thank those companies that have supported and offered support to this effort,” Minister Taylor said.

This builds on work already underway by the AdBlue taskforce, led by James Fazzino, Chair of Manufacturing Australia and former CEO of Incitec Pivot, along with Andrew Liveris, former Chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company and Director at Saudi Aramco, and Dr Cathy Foley, Australia’s Chief Scientist.

The Government has also engaged the National Coordination Mechanism (NCM) to ensure there is a joined-up approach and ongoing information sharing between government agencies and industry.

The next NCM meeting with industry stakeholders will be held later today.

The Government also acknowledged that industry had raised concerns relating to the high price of AdBlue in some areas of the country.

The Government said it understood that some pricing pressures may be normal in this situation, but expects suppliers to give customers a fair deal on AdBlue.

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