2018 has started badly for Midwest Fertilizer Company and its proposed nitrogen complex in Mount Vernon, IL.
It must have been a long summer for Midwest Fertilizer Company, which has been attempting to wrangle ThyssenKrupp into a new EPC contract while mounting a challenge to the IRS. Both efforts are essential if the project is to have any chance of moving forward. Nonetheless, Midwest recently announced a revised budget along with its new groundbreaking and start-up schedule.
Midwest Fertilizer Company continues to juggle progress and setbacks on its $3 billion greenfield nitrogen plant in Indiana, following the December 2016 termination of its EPC contract with ThyssenKrupp. In the last few weeks, we've seen updates on the EPC contract, air permits, debt financing in Pakistan, and the $1.259 billion tax-exempt bond issue in the US.
Midwest Fertilizer Company's EPC contract with ThyssenKrupp is now terminated.
In case you wondered why the CEO of ThyssenKrupp Industrial Services resigned last week in Germany, it's all because of Midwest Fertilizer Company's greenfield plant in Indiana - and the (alleged) shenanigans involved in securing the Midwest EPC contract from Fatima Fertilizer Company in Pakistan.
Fatima Fertilizer Company published its 2015 Annual Report last week.
I wouldn't normally write an update simply to say that a company has posted a document but, while lots of people are watching for news of Midwest Fertilizer's $2.8 billion Indiana greenfield, I think fewer people are watching its sponsor company in Pakistan.
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.
Midwest Fertilizer Company announced yesterday that it had awarded the EPC contract for its world-scale nitrogen fertilizer complex to ThyssenKrupp.
This is the first real progress for the project in over a year: in Spring 2015, the previous EPC contract negotiations with Tecnimont collapsed. In the meantime, Midwest's sponsor, Fatima Fertilizer Company, has been busy wrangling regulatory issues with its equity raise in Pakistan, the $1.259 billion bond has been retired and reauthorized maybe a half dozen times, and the air permit has been extended until June 2017.
Tecnimont announced yesterday that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Fatima Group and Midwest Fertilizer Company to negotiate a lump sum, turn-key engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build the Mt Vernon fertilizer complex.
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.
UPDATED: 05/01/2018 — see Change Log
OWNER: Midwest Fertilizer Company LLC (Fatima Group)
PROJECT: Greenfield nitrogen fertilizer complex
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.