China: Hanfeng j-v for high value-added liquid fertilizer

Hanfeng Evergreen Inc., a leading provider of value-added fertilizers in China and South East Asia, today announced that it has entered into a memorandum of understanding (“MOU”) with Tennessee-based FBSciences, Inc. (“FBSciences”), a global agri-technology company, to establish a joint venture (the “China JV”) for the production of high value-added liquid fertilizer products under license from FBSciences, or products to be jointly developed by FBSciences and Hanfeng, and utilizing FBSciences’ CarbonPower® core technology. The China JV will be owned 95 percent by Hanfeng and 5 percent by FBSciences. Both parties believe the China JV structure will expedite the penetration of various CarbonPower® products into the Chinese market. The operations for the proposed China JV will be located at the Company’s Jiangsu facility and will utilize the building and infrastructure associated with the NPK Prill Tower which will be shut down. A definitive agreement is expected to be completed soon. China has an increasing urban population with a rising standard of living which brought domestic consumption of meat to rise nearly seven-fold in 30 years, while fruit and vegetable consumption is nearly 10 times what it was 30 years ago. As a consequence, China uses more fertilizer than any country accounting for 28 percent of world consumption.

 

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Russia: the potash market in turbulence

OAO Uralkali, Russia’s second-biggest potash producer, said in a statement on December 20 that it has offered to buy 20% of OAO Silvinit, , Russia’s biggest potash producer, for $1.4 billion and to exchange the remaining stock for its own shares. The two groups have a stock market value of almost $24 billion and, merged, they will be the second-largest potash producer in the world, behind Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan. An increased demand for potash as crop prices rise has poised potash to be a top commodity pick in 2011. Completion of the deal is expected in May, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals. Shareholders will receive 133.4 Uralkali ordinary shares for each ordinary share in Silvinit and 51.8 Uralkali ordinary shares for each preferred Silvinit share. A 75 percent majority approval by shareholders is necessary for the deal to go through. Extraordinary shareholders meetings for both companies are scheduled for the first week of February; the deal has already received binding approval from 53 percent of Uralkali and 67 percent of Silvinit shareholders. In the 2009, Silvinit produced 3.5 million tonnes KCl and Uralkali had an output of 2.6 million tonnes KCl. Seven companies — K+S, Potash Corp., Mosaic, OAO Uralkali, Silvinit, Belaruskali and Israel Chemicals Ltd. — control 85 percent of the world potash production, which is mainly used to shield crops from dryness and disease. Last summer Russian tycoon Suleiman Kerimov bought controlling stakes in both firms; Kerimov personally owns 25 per cent stakes in both firms but has control via the holdings of business partners. Some investors believe Kerimov’s plan is to sell on his holdings in the combined group at a profit. There have been no new significant entrants among the potash manufacturers for fully two decades. Russia produces in average about ten million tonnes potash and has reserves of some 2b tonnes. By 2012 they plan to add 3.8 million tonnes capacity. Russia has currently about 16% of the global potash market and they plan to reach 21% in 2014 (Uralkali + Silvinit 16%, and EuroChem 5%).

Vietnam: PetroVietnam Fertilizer increases financial results

Vietnam biggest fertilizer producer, PetroVietnam Fertilizer & Chemical Joint-Stock Co., produced in 2010 0.8 million tonnes fertilizer, 5.9% more than in the previous year, and imported 0.15 million tonnes to meet the needs of a higher demand. In 2011 the Ho Chi Minh City based company plans to produce 0.77 million tonnes fertilizer. The company, which is a unit of Vietnam Oil & Gas Group, had a 2010 pretax earnings of US$95 million. They came into operation on January 2004 and their Phu My Fertilizer Plant has a nameplate capacity of 1,350 MT/day ammonia and 2,200 MT/day capacity of prilled urea. The plant is located in the Vung Tau Province and was engineered and constructed with licensed technologies from the Danish Haldor Topsoe and the Italian Snamproghetti. They also operate the Ca Mau Fertilizer Plant. Vietnam is the second largest global exporter of rice, but the agriculture’s share of economic output has shrinked from about 25% in 2000 to about 21% in 2009.

Qatar: QAFCO Plans to Expand Urea capacities

Industries Qatar, the Gulf emirate’s state-controlled petrochemical and steel maker, posted a greater-than-expected 23 percent gain in third-quarter profit amid rising fertilizer prices. Industries Qatar’s fertilizer, petrochemical and steel units make use of the country’s natural gas reserves, the third-largest in the world, to expand production.

The company’s fertilizer unit, the Doha-based Qatar Fertiliser Co. (QAFCO), plans to open its QAFCO 5 plant in the first half of the current year and QAFCO 6 plant in the third quarter of 2012. The urea plants will each produce about 1.3 million tonnes of the fertilizer a year. Qatar Fertiliser Co was founded in 1969 and is owned 75% by Industries Qatar and 25% by Yara International.

Israel: Another Huge Gas Field Confirmed Off Haifa Shore

Initial drilling confirms that a huge gas field has been found off Israel’s Mediterranean shore. The amount of natural gas in the Leviathan gas field is estimated at 450 billion cubic meters – almost twice the size of the previous large gas discovery at the Tamar field. The find was announced in June but the size could not be confirmed until now. Preliminary estimations evaluate the market value in some US$95 billion.

 

 

About one month ago, the partners in the drilling project reached their target layer in an underwater geological structure 135 km west of Haifa. The Sedco Express rig drilled through 1,634 meters of water and penetrated to 5,100 meters under sea level. When it reached a layer of sand, advanced geological tests were conducted, and their results confirmed the presence of the gas.

 

The American Noble Energy Inc. owns 39,66% of the project; they are associated with three Israeli companies: Delek Drilling and Avner Oil and Gas (with an 22,67% each) and Ratio Oil Exploration, (with the resting 15%).

 

The project could in the future make of Israel a natural gas exporter.

China: Fertilizer Giant To Invest $5b In New Xinjiang Project

Hubei Yihua Chemical Industry Co Ltd, Asia’s largest fertilizer producer, will invest 33 billion yuan (US$5 billion) in a coal chemical project in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region during the next five years. The investment will involve the construction of a 1.2 million kilowatt thermal power plant and projects with an annual production capability of 1.2 million tons of synthetic ammonia, 2 million tons of urea, 1.8 million tons of calcium carbide, 1 million tons of caustic soda, 1.2 million tons of PVC, 2 million tons of semi-coke, and other products.

 

The ammonia and urea production lines are expected to come into operation in October next year, and others will be finished by the end of 2012. The Company markets its urea products under the brand name of Yihua. They also manufacture DAP. The Company distributes its products within the domestic market and to overseas markets.