In December 2017, IFFCO Canada relaunched with new development partners, new 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.
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.
IFFCO Canada's off-again, on-again urea plant has been put "on hold" ... again.
This project was first put on hold last year, when, in December 2014, they took a "strategic pause" because there was too much doubt about securing a long-term gas supply, and also because the engineering and construction costs had swollen to $2 billion, far above the original estimate of $1.2 billion.
But by June 2015, IFFCO Canada was moving ahead again, with progress on a natural gas supply agreement and a new and more affordable EPC partner. Within six months, a broader and less easily solved problem has wrecked the project's financials anew: global urea prices.
IFFCO Canada put its urea brownfield on hold back in December, but this project is now moving forward again.
"We have a construction agreement in principle, an agreement in principle in the gas."
The project has evolved, with a new budget, new timescale, and new partners.
Full details in my Research Note for the plant at Becancour, Quebec.
UPDATED: 04/02/2018 — see Change Log
OWNER: IFFCO Canada (IFFCO joint venture)
PROJECT: Brownfield methanol-urea plant
SUMMARY STATUS: Planning
In December 2017, this proposed ammonia-urea plant was relaunched as Projet Bécancour: a methanol-urea production facility. IFFCO Canada is still the primary project sponsor, making good on its promise, when it put the plant on hold in October 2016, that "Le projet n'est pas mort." The brownfield plant was originally announced in 2012 for a 2017 start-up, but was put on hold repeatedly when construction costs ballooned from $1.2 to more than $2.0 billion, natural gas feedstock supply could not be secured, and the urea market tanked.