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Agri Chem Case Analysis

Agri Chem Case Analysis


Agri Chem faces a challenge of reduced natural gas supply, following a notification from
Enerco, that gas supplies were being rapidly depleted, thus leading to rationing of natural gas.
Based on the priorities that Enerco gives from the Federal Power Commission, it is notable that
Agri Chem will be significantly affected the rationing. In providing details on rationing, Enerco
did not provide proportions for rationing. Agri Chem must determine its usage pattern to
determine how best to maximize profits under the circumstances. The problem is to determine
which of Agri Chem’s complexes would be least affected by a gas curtailment.


The rationing of natural gas is expected to have a significant impact on Agri-Chem, given
the high level of usage. Agri Chem mostly utilizes natural gas for the second and third priority,
which comprise the commercial use as a raw material source and industrial use as a broiler fuel.
This was likely to lead to ‘rolling brownouts’ due to natural gas curtailments. The fact that
Enerco does not provide guidelines on the manner in which natural gas will be allocated based

on products gives Agri Chem an opportunity to determine its own proportions in a bid to ensure
that profitability is maximized under the conditions. While Agri Chem had an allocation of
90,000  10 3 cubic feet per day based on its contract with Enerco, this would be reduced by 20%
to 40% following the curtailment. This would greatly affect Agri Chem, which utilizes natural
gas as broiler fuel except for ammonia production which required natural gas as a raw material.

The situation at hand presents a complex scenario in which the company’s productivity is
likely to be curtailed by the rationing of natural gas, given that Agri Chem considerably depends
on natural gas for production purposes. This calls for a solution to optimize gas usage under the
current circumstances, which essentially calls for a formula for gas usage to ensure that the
company’s profits are maximized under the circumstances. Agri Chem has an advantage in that
Enerco does not provide proportions for gas allocation and hence the company has the liverty to
determine its capacities as deemed appropriate. Determining the product that would be least
affected by the curtailment of natural gas helps the company to establish how well it can be
utilized to provide optimal results for the company. Linear programming provides a simple
solution for this complex situation, such that Agri Chem can determine how best to approach the
problem presented by the gas shortage.


The main objective is to determine, based on Agri Chem’s complexities, the product that will be
least affected by the gas curtailment. The solution involves creation of a linear programming
equation that bases its calculation on the contribution, current capacity, production rate and
natural gas usage, provided in the table of financial and operation data on page 6. This is
optimized using linear programming, putting the possible constraints (20% and 40%) into

consideration, to determine the product that would be least affected by the natural gas
curtailment. Linear programming is considered effective in obtaining solutions for optimal use of
resources and profit maximization because it makes use of simple formulas to determine
solutions under different constraints (Haidar, 2015). It is therefore effective in making decisions
on complex issues affecting organizations, such as the gas allocation dilemma faced by Agri
Chem. In this case, two constraints are present. The process begins by determining the new
constraints, representing the expected impact when gas supply is reduced by 20% or 40%. Using
excel, calculations are made to determine the new quantities. Using these constraints, it is
possible to determine the number of tons that can be produced per day to maximize profits as
indicated on the calculations on page 7. The gas constraints are developed with reference to the
possible changes, from 85,680,000 cu. ft. per day, which Agri Chem utilizes, once the
curtailment is done. This is shown on page 7. The results indicate that Caustic Soda would be the
least affected by the gas curtailment. This is because the company can operate optimally with
Caustic Soda being produced at low levels; 423.2 tons/day when curtailment is 20% and zero
tons/day when curtailment is at 40%. Profitability can then be calculated based on the quantities


The current situation at Agri-Chem calls for an effective measure to determine the
utilization of the natural gas supplies under the constraints.

 Linear programming is an effective optimization technique, suitable for complex problem
solving, such as in the case of Agri Chem.

 Through the use of linear programming, Agri Chem can maximize its profits by assessing
the gas proportions needed for the company and how this can be allocated to ensure
optimal use of the available natural gas.
 This solution provides guidance for Agri Chem on the utilization of natural gas, such that
it can be effectively allocated for optimal results and loss reduction.
 Linear programming gives better outcomes due to its simplicity and definite formula –
single and straightforward, thus promoting accuracy.
 The calculation of optimal levels for profitability helps in promoting decision making e.g.
in the case of Agri Chem where the company determines the complexities that are least
affected by natural gas rationing.
 The solution provides a basis for determining the result of different scenarios – in this
case the company can determine the profit optimization at 20% and 40% curtailment.


The problem presented in this case involves a situation in which Agri Chem’s production
is affected by the curtailment of gas supply due to the effects of a heat wave. Enerco provides
that Agri Chem’s supply may be affected by 20% to 40%. This calls on Agri Chem to come up
with a formula that will optimize the situation, to ensure that it maintains sustainable profitability
under the circumstances. A linear programming solution in which constraints are developed at
the curtailment proportions provides that, caustic soda would be least affected by the gas
curtailment, at the point of optimal profitability.


Question: Which of Agri-Chem’s complexes would be least affected by a gas curtailment?

Financial and Operational Data

Contribution Capacity Production Rate Natural Gas Usage

Product ($/Ton) (Tons/Day) (% of Capacity) (1,000 Cu.Ft./Ton)

Ammonia $80 1,500 80 8

Ammonium phosphate $120 600 90 10

Ammonium nitrate $140 700 70 12

Urea $140 200 80 12

Hydrofluoric acid $90 800 70 7

Chlorine $70 1,500 80 18

Caustic soda $60 1,600 80 20

Vinyl chloride monomer $90 1,400 60 14


Let X 1 = ammonia ; X 2 = ammonium phosphate ; X 3 = ammonium nitrate ; X 4 = urea ; X 5 =
hydrofluoric acid ; X 6 = chlorine ; X 7 = caustic soda ; X 8 = Vinyl chloride monomer

Agri Chem’s current natural gas usage = (1,200 × 8 + 540 × 10 + 490 × 12 + …) = 85,680,000
cu. ft. per day

At 20% curtailment, availability is 0.8 x 85,680 = 68,554,000 cu. ft. per day

Therefore, gas constraint = 8X 1 + 10X 2 + 12X 3 + 12X 4 + 7X 5 + 18X 6 + 20X 7 + 14X 8 ≤ 68,544

Using Excel, the following solution is obtained.

X 1 X 2 X 3 X 4 X 5 X 6 X 7 X 8


1200 540 490 160 560 1200 433.2 840

At 40% curtailment, availability is 0.6 × 85,680 = 51,408,000 cu. ft. per day

Constraint: 8X 1 + 10X 2 + 12X 3 + 12X 4 + 7X 5 + 18X 6 + 20X 7 + 14X 7 ≤ 51,408

Excel calculation results in the following:


X 1 X 2 X 3 X 4 X 5 X 6 X 7 X 8


2 0.00


Haidar, A. D. (2015). Construction Program Management – Decision Making and Optimization

Techniques. London: Springer

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