AM Agrigen planning a world-scale urea greenfield

Permit documents show that AM Agrigen is planning to build a world-scale urea greenfield, although the company hasn’t made any public announcements regarding size.

Of all the plants now in development, only CF Industries’ Donaldsonville brownfield has a bigger ammonia capacity.

The project’s backers are clearly looking toward the export market, despite the argument given in permit documents, which stress the US’s status as an importer of urea as the main reason why another urea plant needs to be built here. AM Agrigen’s CEO Mark Vandervoorde was quoted in the local press:

“Over the next 10 years we expect the amount of urea manufactured in the US to be equal to the amount of the US demand. In fact it may even shift to where urea is exported and our plant being located on the lower Mississippi River, we intend to have a dock with very good cargo loading capability … We expect that if the market becomes an export market rather than an import market, we’ll be in a good position to take advantage of that.”

More than that, permit documents made it explicit that “the ability to construct a deep-draft marine terminal was a paramount consideration in the site selection process.” Site plans include loading facilities for cape-class and panamax vessels to export the product through the Gulf of Mexico, as well as for barges to take the product upstream to the Midwest.

Regarding the project backers (who I identify in my research note), the permit documents coyly assert that AM Agrigen Industries LLC (AMAI) “is part of an international group that has been involved in the production of ammonia and urea based fertilizer products for worldwide agri-businesses for many years … AMAI is a company with extensive financial backing to develop credible projects, with credible assurances that they will be constructed.”

Technology licensors for the ammonia and urea processes are also revealed in the permit documents – all of which I’ve added to the research note for the proposed greenfield in Killona, LA.

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