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.
SUMMARY STATUS: On hold (again)
""Le projet n'est pas mort." In October 2016, IFFCO Canada reduced itself to a skeleton staff, with plans to keep the project "sur la glace" until the urea market recovers. In December 2015, it put the urea plant on hold "until favourable economic conditions prevail." The project had only been "reactivated" in June 2015, having previously been put on "strategic pause" in December 2014. In 2014, its backers coped with snowballing costs and no secure supply of natural gas but, in 2015, it was the market price of urea that dropped too low for the financiers' comfort.