International Paper believes it will take up to three months to repair the large digester damaged by the January explosion.
Last month, International Paper's (IP) Pensacola mill was rocked by a boiler explosion that had brought fluff pulp and containerboard production to a halt. Meanwhile, the mill has partially resumed fluff pulp operations, but kraftliner production is believed to stay offline for another five or more weeks.
"Repairing the damaged digester will take more time, however, and we know that we will not be able to resume full operations producing containerboard at the mill during the first quarter of 2017," the company explained in its 10-K 2016 annual report filed yesterday. IP estimates that it will take approximately three months to restore the damaged pulp cooking plant.
Containerboard capacity of IP Pensacola mill amounts to 510,000 tpy of kraftliner and corrugating medium. In addition, the mill is housing a pulp line with a production capacity of 190,000 tpy of fluff pulp used for manufacturing absorbent hygiene products like baby diapers, feminine care, adult incontinence and other non-woven products.
The explosion at International Paper's Pensacola fluff pulp and kraftliner mill in Cantonment, Florida, occurred on 22 January and the mill reportedly experienced significant structural damage to the largest pulp digester and the power house. Within a couple of weeks, the company restarted the power house and partially resumed fluff pulp production relying on a series of small batch digesters. IP is working from the assumption that repairing the damaged digester will take approximately three months.
"It is currently estimated that the total impact will be in excess of $50 million, but that property damage and business interruption insurance will cover a significant portion of the costs," the US pulp, paper and packaging company said, commenting on the financial impact of the blast.