Cronus Chemicals announces EPC award for world-scale ammonia plant in Illinois


Cronus Chemicals has awarded the EPC contract for its 2,300 metric ton per day ammonia plant in Tuscola, IL, to ThyssenKrupp Industrial Services (TKIS). The greenfield site will no longer include a urea plant, although I suspect that the engineering design will leave space for one to be added later.

Cronus’ contract with TKIS … is the result of an extensive review process between the two companies that began in 2017. The Cronus team is continuing work on the project and the facility is on track for groundbreaking in the 2nd quarter of 2019 …

With the capacity to produce 2,300 metric tons of ammonia per day, the Cronus plant will be a major new source of fertilizer for farmers throughout Illinois and the Midwest. The plant’s strategic location will allow area farmers to access locally produced ammonia that will primarily replace the need for imported products.
Cronus announcement, Cronus Fertilizers Executes EPC Contract with thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions for Illinois Fertilizer Project, 10/01/2018

The announcement does not mention the fact that the project has no air permit, and cannot begin construction without one. The site had been fully permitted in 2014 and 2015, but those permits have now expired. Nonetheless, project representatives tell me that the Cronus team thinks it can complete all the necessary permitting by Q2 2019.

This schedule might be optimistic and, especially given that every previous schedule announced by Cronus has proven to be optimistic, future delays would not be surprising. To achieve a Q2 2019 groundbreaking, Cronus would need to submit new permits almost immediately (it hasn’t yet done so), and arrange for an expedited permit review process, which, at best, will still take 4-6 months.

Project reps confirmed to me that TKIS has been awarded the ammonia technology license, as well as the EPC contract.

Despite removing the urea plant from its (immediate) plans, project capex has actually increased since 2017. The new total, $1.7 billion, presumably includes owner’s costs, over and above the size of the EPC award.

For full information, see my Research Note for Tuscola, IL.

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