Agrium continues to plan for the potential restart of its ammonia-urea plant in Kenai, Alaska: its draft water permit is now entering a 30-day public comment period.
However, the fact sheet for the draft permit contains one particularly interesting chart, which follows below, to illustrate the water flows throughout the ammonia-urea plant. In an industry that holds its data close, this is a refreshingly detailed flow chart.
Bloomberg broke news today of a potential merger between Agrium and PotashCorp:
The combination could be announced as soon as next week, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. No final decisions have been made and the Canadian companies could decide against a deal, they said.
Capacity can be a confusing word, with different meanings for different users: it can be a guarantee of minimum design, an estimate of maximum production, a benchmark for performance appraisal, or a valuation tool.
Many users of this site contact me to ask how to interpret capacity data. I'm grateful to a handful of industry leaders who kindly contributed their interpretations of "capacity" to the following discussion, to help me illustrate different approaches to the idea.
Additionally, I've just published over 50 years of raw data, courtesy of USGS, which may help for those looking for historical production, consumption, and capacity data.
CVR Partners closed its merger with Rentech today, giving birth to a new subsidiary, East Dubuque Nitrogen Fertilizers, LLC, which will now operate the nitrogen plant in East Dubuque, IL.
CVR Partners previously ran just one nitrogen plant, the Coffeyville, KS, ammonia-UAN plant, which gets its pet coke feedstock from its sister refinery (owned by CVR Energy, the parent company of CVR Partners).
So, this merger "provides the partnership with an expanded geographical footprint, diversification of its raw material feedstocks, wider customer reach and greater potential for cash-flow generation."
While we wait for the current slate of new ammonia plants to start up this year, here's a reminder of the projects that are still in development across North America.
More than a dozen major ammonia plants are in various stages of planning or financing. None of these have started construction yet. Some have been stuck in limbo for years, while others keep making progress. The project pipeline represents a potential investment of over $20 billion and additional ammonia capacity of more than 9 million tons per year.
Obviously, not every project will move ahead - in fact, conventional wisdom says none will - but new trends are emerging that may influence their success or failure.
A list of the biggest projects follows below, summarizing their evolving costs, pushed-back schedules, and changing EPC contractors.
This will be a transformative year for the ammonia industry. Four world-scale ammonia plants are scheduled to begin production, as well as three smaller plants, a couple of expansions, and a "clean coal" behemoth.
If all these projects start up successfully this year, they will add more than five million tons of ammonia capacity.
The new projects scheduled for 2016 will increase North American capacity by more than a quarter - and, because only one of these projects is in Canada, will increase US capacity by more than a third.