This analysis from Douglas Hoadley (Director of Agribusiness Analysis) at the CF Industries Investor Day, today, 6/11/2013.
- Ammonia imports into the US will decline by ~20% by 2018
- ~4 million tons ammonia will be imported each year by 2018
- The ~6 millon tons of new capacity that CF expects to come online will mainly be upgraded. Therefore imports of ammonia will not be severely affected (as opposed to imports of all nitrogen products).
Download PDF or stream audio of the presentation here.
World nitrogen demand shows very consistent 2% growth. When you look back of the last decade, you can see it was about 2.3% on a very consistent basis, and it’s more consistent than either P&K, and it shows the highest growth rate over those two. And as you look out, whether you use IFA or FERTECON or our own forecast, it’s very consistent 2% growth rates. That equates to about 3 million tons of nutrients each year. And if you turn that into the equivalent of product tons for urea, that’s about 6 million tons, or 4 to 5 new plants each year. So when you look out and see that there’s — this project list with 4 to 5 new plants each year, well that’s what it needs to meet the growth in demand … [later:] The strongest growth is particularly in developing countries such as the former Soviet Union, especially Russia and Ukraine, Asia, and Latin America.
I know there’s been a lot of projects announced, whether North America or around the world. I think you have to take those all with a grain of salt. We’ve done some analysis and IFA has done some analysis. When you look about it, it’s only 50% to 60% of the plants that are announced actually get built …
North America imports 38% … that’s Canada and the US when we’re talking about North America. If you look at just the US alone, it’s over 50%, but that includes Canadian imports. So we like to look at North America as 38%, and we assume about 6 million tons of new ammonia capacity will come on stream. And when you look at that, you’ll find that North America, or the US, will still remain importers of nitrogen fertilizers …
So here’s the list that we have of current producers’ expanding capacity. It equates to about nearly 6 million tons. Almost every producer in North America is either debottlenecking, doing brownfield, or in the case of OCI, doing the greenfield operation, as well as Dyno. But this is the list of the current producers, including CF.
The second list is the greenfield, mostly non-producers. And one of the things is they’re really facing high capital costs. And I think it was really interesting up until last week, we had both of these Agrium plants in the other list, but they’ve announced they’ve suspended both of them. And so we’ve seen capital costs. When a lot of these announcements first came out, we heard cost levels of $1.2 billion, $1.3 billion. And CF looked like, when we announced ours at $1.8 billion to $2.1 billion, that we’re on the high side. But then we saw OCI come out for their financing, they were already up to $1.8 billion. And then Agrium, when they announced they’re suspending their greenfield operation, they were talking close to $3 billion. So we’ve seen these capital costs creep — going up very dramatically in North America. And so all of these face financing obstacles right now, as well as high capital costs.