IFFCO Canada relaunches as urea-methanol plant in Quebec


In December 2017, IFFCO Canada relaunched with new development partners, a new plant design, and a new name: ProjetBécancour.ag Limited Partnership. The project, first announced in 2012, was originally a $1.2 billion urea plant, but is now being reconfigured as a methanol-urea plant.

It is not yet clear to what extent the previously announced urea capacity might be reduced, or how much methanol capacity would be added in the revised design. According to the new company’s announcement, details about the project “will be provided once the environmental impact study has been completed,” which could be months away.

The project sponsor is still IFFCO Canada, a joint venture led by the Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (IFFCO, through its international development subsidiary Kisan International Trading FZE), and local Canadian cooperative La Coop fédérée. Joining these agricultural cooperatives in late 2017 is Développement Nauticol Québec Ltée, a subsidiary of Nauticol Energy Ltd, which replaces former development partner Pacific Gateway Energy.

Nauticol has developed a low-cost approach to convert abundant natural gas into high value products in a way that significantly reduces carbon dioxide output …

We are excited to be releasing specific project information very soon. “Final Investment Decision” for our first project will happen in 2018.
Nauticol Energy website, accessed April 2018

Plans for the Becancour plant had been on hold since October 2016, when IFFCO Canada reduced itself to a skeleton staff and announced its intention to keep the project on ice (“sur la glace”) until the urea market recovered. The previous year, in December 2015, IFFCO Canada had also put the urea plant on hold “until favourable economic conditions prevail.” And that decision came shortly after the project had been “reactivated” in June 2015, having previously been put on “strategic pause” in December 2014.

The project has barely been in active development, therefore, since 2014, when its backers were coping with snowballing construction costs and difficulty securing a supply of natural gas. Since 2015, however, it was the market price of urea that dropped too low for the financiers’ comfort. Now that the urea market is showing signs of durable recovery, it makes sense that the developers would revisit the project.

All this and more on the project’s history is in my Research Note for Becancour, QB.

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