Quarterly Fertilizer Prices

India: Zuari Industries plans 1.3 million tonnes gas-based urea plant at Karnataka

Zuari Industries Ltd (ZIL), the country’s largest importer of fertilizers and agricultural inputs, is in the process of acquiring land and obtaining environment clearances for its proposed 1.3 million tonne (mt) gas-based urea plant at Belgaum in Karnataka.

A 1,400-km-long pipeline is scheduled to come up by March 2012 and it would bring the gas from the Petronet LNG’s Dahej terminal. They hope to commission the unit in 2015-16.

In a parallel development ZIL has already made investments to convert the feedstock for its existing 0.4 mt urea unit at Zuari Nagar (Goa) from naphtha to gas. They hope to get the gas from January 2012, which should come through a separate 120-km spur pipeline from Belgaum, but they also stated that even in case the gas should be imported, anyhow it will work out much cheaper than naphtha. The average production cost of urea from gas-based plants in India was estimated in 2009-10, to be less than a third compared to units running on naphtha.

Established in 1967 Zuari Industries Ltd. is an Agri-Input company belonging to the KK Birla Group of Companies.

U.K.: Koch Fertilizer bought J&H Bunn Ltd. fertilizer business

Koch Fertilizer Ltd., a subsidiary of Koch Fertilizer, LLC, has completed its acquisition of United Kingdom-based fertilizer blender and distributor J&H Bunn Limited, including its subsidiaries.

Koch Fertilizer has the capability to manufacture and market more than 10 million metric tons of fertilizer products annually.

J&H Bunn was founded in 1816 in Great Yarmouth and employs about 150 people in its fertilizer business, which is comprised of 7 terminals throughout the United Kingdom. Approximately 95 percent of the U.K.’s arable area lies within 100 miles of J&H Bunn’s port-related facilities.

J&H Bunn’s major fertilizer terminals are in Great Yarmouth on the east coast, Middlesbrough (Teesside) in northern England and Sharpness on the west coast. Bunn also has four other coastal and inland terminals at Falmouth, Howden, Montrose and Fakenham.

Saudi Arabia: MPC expects to begin commercial production this year, in the third quarter

According to official sources of the Ma’aden Phosphate Company the initial date for the launching of the phosphate production, originally envisaged by end of Q4 2010, has been moved to the Q2 2011 by which time the associated infrastructure and supporting utilities in Ras Az Zawr will be completed. The phosphate concentrate will be railed from the Ras Az Zawr plant (90 km north of Jubail) to be processed at the Al Jalameed beneficiation plant. Commercial production is planned to commence also this year, but in the Q3, and will have an output of some five million tpa of flotation concentrate on a dry basis.

The Phosphate project has been developed in a joint venture with SABIC , through a limited liability company, Ma’aden Phosphate Company, incorporated in Saudi Arabia. A Joint Venture Agreement was concluded on September 15, 2007 by Ma’aden and SABIC.

The first phase of the project, with a capacity of 2.9 million tpa, will have a major impact on the global market for phosphate-based fertilizers. It is estimated that they will produce approximately 3 million tpa of granular DAP, plus approximately 0.4 million tpa of excess ammonia. MPC began production of ammonia at the plant in last February. It is also anticipated that the phosphate project will generate approximately 0.2 million tpa of excess phosphoric acid for sales to the domestic market in Saudi Arabia.

The second phase will give the plant an export capacity of at least six million tonnes per year of DAP, or almost half the 12.2 mt produced globally in 2006. The company aims to take a 15-20% share of world market.

After production begins, half of it is expected to be shipped to India and the Saudi company will accordingly open an office in New Delhi.

Indonesia: Kaltim to build a new nitrogen plant

Indonesia’s PT Pupuk Kalimantan Timur, or Kaltim, has awarded Japan’s Toyo Engineering a $577 million EPC contract to build a fertilizer plant in Bontang. The contract is for Engineering, Procurement, and Construction services on a lump-sum turnkey basis. The natural gas-fed fertilizer plant comprises a 2,700 mt/d ammonia unit and a 3,500 mt/d urea unit.

Toyo will also construct utility facilities at the plant and construction is likely to start this summer, and is expected to last something less than three years.

Kaltim has four fertilizer plants in Indonesia with a combined nameplate capacity of 2.98 million tpa of urea and 1.85 million tpa of ammonia.

India: NPK maker Coromandel wants to get urea capacity

The Chennai-based Murugappa Group’s Coromandel International has four manufacturing facilities at Kakinada and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, and Ennore and Ranipet in Tamil Nadu, is into production of complex fertilizers with a cumulative annual capacity of 3.2 million tonnes. They were the second-largest player in phosphatic fertilizers in the country, having a 16-18 per cent market share.

But the company also imports 0.23 million tonnes of urea and they are now looking forward for the acquisition or the setting up of a urea plant. The acquisition could be even overseas. This would complement their fertilizer business, being their aim to get a capacity of a million tonnes urea per year. India is the world largest urea importer, but it is still not under the nutrient based subsidy scheme, although a proposal to this effect was mooted in the recent Union budget.

Fertilizer and pesticide maker Coromandel Fertilisers Ltd, a part of the Murugappa Group, was renamed last year as Coromandel International. India’s annual fertilizer consumption experimented this decade a growth of 4.5 percent, but it seems not to be enough: yields are typically 20-50 percent of those on equivalent USA cropland.

Uruguay: ALUR is investing US$100 million in animal feeds, biofuels and other products

Alur, most of whose shares are in hand of the State-owned  energy company ANCAP, is producing 18 million litres of ethanol from sugar cane, 35,000 tonnes of sugar and 10 MWh of electric energy, employing 2,700 persons. Now they are investing 100 million US dollars in animal feeds, agro-energy and other products. They expect to begin producing en the second semester of 2013 49,000t of animal feed per year in the Paysandu Department. Each industrialized ton of raw material (based on grains, soybeans, etc.) will produce 400 lts of ethanol and 280 kg of animal feed. In the 2010 Alur had a turnover of US$80 million.

Rice Snapshot

As a cereal grain, rice is the most important staple food for a large part of the world’s population, especially in East and South Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and the West Indies. It is the grain with the second-highest global production, after maize. Rice uses about 15% of the nutrients applied to agriculture. Very roughly, in the latest years, rice received some 15-16% of the nitrogen fertilizer applied to crops, 12-13% of the phosphate fertilizer, and 13-14% of potassium fertilizer.

In the last forty years rice production has more than doubled. In addition, a 2010 study found that, as a result of rising temperatures and decreasing solar radiation during the later years of the 20th century, the rice yield growth rate has decreased in many parts of Asia, compared to what would have been observed had the temperature and solar radiation trends not occurred. The yield growth rate had fallen 10-20% at some locations. The study was based on records from 227 farms in Thailand, Vietnam, India, China, Bangladesh and Pakistan.