2016 was a transformative year for the North American ammonia industry but, in 2017, the bigger impact will be on the urea industry.
Here's an update on four urea expansions expected on-stream this year and next, which will add almost two million tons of new urea capacity. In the process, they'll reduce the amount of ammonia that's available for sale by more than one million tons.
And, as a bonus, I have news on an embattled "clean coal" project that, in what might be a last gasp attempt at a viable business model, could potentially add another 1.5 million tons of urea in Texas.
SUMMARY STATUS: Construction Phase
Koch is expanding its Enid plant, the "single largest project investment in company history," increasing capacity on both ammonia lines, debottlenecking the existing urea plant, and building a new urea plant. Ground-breaking took place in October 2014; the project is slightly behind schedule, with start-up expected in 2017.
OWNER: Pryor Chemical Company (LSB Industries Inc)
PROJECT: Ammonia-UAN plant, expansion
SUMMARY STATUS: Operational
LSB Industries restarted the Pryor ammonia-UAN plant in 2010, after it had lain idle for a decade, and expanded it in 2013. Since 2012, LSB has also been considering the potential restart of two smaller ammonia units on the site. Reliability has been a major problem at Pryor over the years. While ammonia has been produced on this site since 1954, the current plant was commissioned in 1997.
OWNER: Terra Nitrogen Company LP (CF Industries Holdings Inc)
PROJECT: Nitrogen fertilizer plant
The Verdigris plant has been producing ammonia and UAN since 1975. Minor expansion work was completed during scheduled plant turnarounds in each of the last four years. CF Industries has owned over 75% of Terra Nitrogen since 2010.