Dyno Nobel's new plant at Waggaman, LA, is producing ammonia above its daily rated capacity. Conversely, total production in 2017 is expected to be closer to 80% of annual capacity, because it is likely to be taken offstream regularly this year while it ramps up.
This article discusses the early performance of the Waggaman ammonia plant, and the cost overruns it saw during construction.
The Louisiana governor joined Incitec Pivot and Dyno Nobel last week for a "dedication event" for the new ammonia plant at Waggaman, LA. The festivities included a ribbon-cutting and the unveiling of a ceremonial plaque, despite the fact that the plant is not quite finished with its commissioning process.
SUMMARY STATUS: Cancelled
In July 2015, the Louisiana governor's office announced that Lithuanian investors intended to build an ammonia plant in Pollock, by retrofitting an idled biodiesel plant. The air permit was issued in December 2016, disclosing project details. Construction was going to begin in 2017 for start-up in 2019 but, in April 2017, the project was "put on hold indefinitely."
If you want to know whether - or when - the US will become a nitrogen exporter, read what the fertilizer company CEOs say during the latest round of quarterly earnings calls.
These guys should have formed pretty solid opinions by now about how the capacity expansions will affect long-term supply and demand, and how they're going to gain/keep market share and competitive advantage. But it can be a challenge to infer what those opinions might be.
I've summarized the pertinent parts of the debate here, with quotes from Agrium, CF Industries, KBR, LSB Industries, OCI, Potash Corp, and Yara.
OWNER: AM Agrigen Industries
PROJECT: Greenfield ammonia-urea plant
SUMMARY STATUS: Planning Phase
Greenfield ammonia plant: in development since 2012, permits approved in 2015, delayed, then completely redesigned in 2016. Now awaiting EPC announcement and revised budget and schedule. AM Agrigen has made no public announcements but permit documents reveal changing scale and technology licensors.
SUMMARY STATUS: Construction phase
Delayed slightly, in part by Hurricane Harvey, and no longer likely to start-up fully in 2017. Yara and BASF held a groundbreaking ceremony in July 2015, five months after the companies confirmed their investment decision and announced details of their joint venture relationship, the EPC contract award, and a 20-year feedstock supply contract.
OWNER: Mississippi Power Company (Southern Company)
PROJECT: Greenfield power plant, ammonia byproduct
SUMMARY STATUS: Operational / Abandoned
The Kemper County Energy Facility, a 582 MW power plant, was one of the US DOE's flagship "clean coal" projects. It would have produced ammonia as a byproduct of its coal-to-syngas process. The plant has been producing power from natural gas since August 2014, but experienced profound delays and budget overruns with the coal portion, which now appears to have been abandoned, with layoffs at the adjacent coal mine.
In September 2016, local news reports implied that Magnida was winding down. The project was first announced in 2013, as a revitalized fertilizer version of a power plant initially proposed in 2005. Magnida's equity was originally committed in full, but became uncertain when costs escalated and the project met with resistance, finally the sponsor pulled out and new equity partners could not be found.
A flurry of press releases regarding Midwest Fertilizer / Fatima Group’s Mt Vernon greenfield. Contracts to KBR for a 2,200 ton per day ammonia plant, and Jacobs Engineering Group for project management. New details released: confirming my original guess of project scale, at 800,000 tons per year; construction to begin Nov ’14, take three years. I assume delays, so start-up 2018. I still think this project is “possible” – but I won’t call it “likely” until they break ground. KBR booked the contract value (undisclosed) into its backlog for 4Q2013.
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.
OWNER: Dakota Gasification Company (Basin Electric Power Cooperative)
PROJECT: Existing plant, urea brownfield
SUMMARY STATUS: Commissioning phase
Construction on the new urea plant began in Summer 2014, and would have been complete mid-2017. In 2016, however, destructive storms flattened the new urea storage building, which had to be demolished and the foundations ripped out before construction could restart. Commissioning is now underway, and full start-up is expected early in 2018. Granular urea will now be the 11th product made at the Great Plains Synfuels Plant (the 12th will be DEF), and fertilizers now represent more than 50% of the plant's expected revenues.
SUMMARY STATUS: Ammonia expansion Cancelled, Urea brownfield Operational
In April 2017, Agrium "successfully commissioned" its brownfield urea plant at Borger, which had been under construction since March 2014, more than a year behind schedule and 10% over budget. An expected debottleneck of the ammonia line was cancelled in 2015. In January 2018, Nutrien was formed through a "merger of equals" between Agrium and PotashCorp that was originally announced in September 2016.
SUMMARY STATUS: Financing phase
Awaiting financial close, before project is confirmed and construction can begin; no date yet for groundbreaking. In August 2017, Cronus announced a new EPC partner, a reduced cost for smaller capacity, and a more realistic schedule. The project has been repeatedly postponed over the last few years.
OWNER: The Mosaic Company
PROJECT: Ammonia plantdebottleneck and brownfield ammonia plant
SUMMARY STATUS: Operational
Faustina has been producing ammonia since 1968. Mosaic chose to implement an emissions reduction project in 2017 instead of a debottleneck at Faustina. In October 2013, Mosaic abandoned plans for a $1.1 billion ammonia brownfield plant, because it became "unnecessary" after Mosaic acquired CF Industries' phosphate operations. In early 2018, Mosaic derated the capacity at Faustina.
PROJECT: Nitrogen plant, restart, expansion and urea brownfield
SUMMARY STATUS: Operational, Planning Phase
The Geismar ammonia plant started up in 1967 but was idled in 2003, due to the high cost of natural gas feedstock. PotashCorp restarted the plant in February 2013 at a cost of $260 million. Air permit documents reveal plans for significant future expansions. In January 2018, Nutrien was formed through a "merger of equals" between Agrium and PotashCorp that was originally announced in September 2016.
SUMMARY STATUS: Operational
Announced in 2013, PotashCorp's latest ammonia expansion came online in October 2015 after a 7-week turnaround. The urea expansion came online in 2014. The Lima site has been producing ammonia since 1955. In January 2018, Nutrien was formed through a "merger of equals" between Agrium and PotashCorp that was originally announced in September 2016.
SUMMARY STATUS: Planning phase
Major setbacks in 2016, when the EPC contract was awarded and then fell apart following a corruption scandal and a failure to secure equity financing. Major setbacks predicted in 2017 and confirmed in 2018, related to debt financing. Air permits were extended in 2017 but any progress now depends on winning a legal argument with the IRS.
OWNER: Ohio Valley Resources
PROJECT: Greenfield nitrogen fertilizer plant
SUMMARY STATUS: Financing Phase
Air permit was granted in September 2013; extended in March 2015 and extended again in September 2016. Two major companies awarded FEED and EPC in December 2013; agreements now presumed expired. Financing MOUs in place with foreign investors, February 2014; expired. "Finalization of project financing has delayed project construction." Any announcement of a new project sponsor - or project abandonment - is unlikely until the status of other, nearby greenfields is confirmed.
SUMMARY STATUS: Operational
OCI announced the start-up of the ammonia plant in April 2017 but, while the site is mechanically complete and all the downstream plants are capable of production above nameplate capacity, the ammonia plant had trouble ramping up and OCI only acknowledged "Provisional Acceptance" of the project in mid-October. Despite OCI's first-mover advantage, the Wever plant is now two years delayed and more than a billion dollars over budget. OCI wanted to do mergers and acquisitions but didn't have much success: it failed to merge with CF Industries in 2016 and failed to buy out its subsidiary, OCI Partners, in 2017.