Nigeria: Plans for a new nitrogen fertilizer plant

Indorama Corp. plans to build fertilizer and methanol plants worth US$1.8 billion in Nigeria’s southern city of Port Harcourt. The operations are expected to start production in 2014 and manufacture 1 million tonnes of ammonia and urea fertilizers, and the company will also produce methanol as an alternative fuel. Company sources say that the plant will be the largest single-train urea plant in the world.


Iran: also the fertilizer industry is feeling the heat of the sanctions

Iran’s National Petrochemical Company (NPC) said it is looking for a new partner to replace Oman in its $800 million Hormuz urea fertilizer plant, in Assalouyeh, southern Iran.
The 50:50 joint venture between the Oman government and the NPC has been in limbo as the Oman Oil Company (OOC) has been reluctant to proceed with the project since it inked an agreement with NPC in August 2009. In February 2011, NPC gave a two-month ultimatum to the Oman government to decide if it wanted to proceed. Having received no response for more than three months, NPC project director Ahmed Heydarnia last May again asked the Omani government to clarify its stand. There has still been no reply by the wholly owned by the Government of the Sultanate of Oman company.
The project was designed to have a capacity to produce 1 million mt/year of urea and 600,000 mt/year of ammonia.
The NPC is also feeling the political heat in another project, a fertilizer joint venture called Lavan Petrochemical Company. Sab industries pulled out of the joint venture last May. Originally, Sab had a 53% stake in the project, NPC held 20%, Iranian joint stock company Arak Petrochemical Company held another 20%, and the Bank Melli Iran Investment Company had 5% stake in the project.
The fertilizer project was expected, once finished, to produce 860,000 mt/year of urea and 175,000 mt/year of ammonia.

India: Bodal Chemicals Ltd. plans to build a SSP plant

India’s Bodal Chemicals Ltd. plans to build a 350,000 tpa SSP plant at Padra, Vadodara, near Bodal’s existing manufacturing facilities for sulphuric acid, dyes and dye intermediates. The cost will be of about US$7 million and the project will be implemented through a wholly owned subsidiary, Bodal Agro Tech, which was set up for this sole purpose. Sulphuric acid feed from the plant will be provided from spent
acid produced within the plant complex; during July 2010, a 650 tpd sulphuric acid plant was successfully comissioned at Padra. Once ground breaking begins, the construction of the new SSP plant is expected to take a year and a half to be completed. Bodal Chemicals is India’s leading maker and marketer of dyes.

USA: IC Potash polyhalite ore project focus now on engineering work

IC Potash polyhalite ore project, the source of the SOP fertilizer, received very positive results of metallurgical testing focused on increasing the recovery of potassium sulphate from the polyhalite resource. The tests from the Ochoa project in New Mexico were conducted by Hazen Laboratories, one of the world’s premier metallurgical and processing laboratories. The exploration work has been completed, and the focus is now on engineering work, and a pre-feasibility study is scheduled for release in October 2011.


The project is planned to produce initially 600,000 metric tonnes of SOP, and expects that production capacity will grow to one million tonnes per year. Measured and indicated resources are adequate for over 100 years of production.


The company estimates that leaching recoveries of at least 97 per cent will be obtained in a full operating plant environment and expects operating costs will be lower as a result  and ICP is presently forecasted in the bottom quartile of the world cost curve. The required process uses heat and water to convert the ore (polyhalite, which contains potassium and sulphate into potassium and sulphate brine) and the subsequent phase will process the brine into the SOP. This process is currently implemented in the United States, Chile, and China.


IC Potash’s SOP product will be sold initially in the United States, Mexico, and South America, where demand is strong and growing at higher rates than the MOP markets, and then foreign markets, primarily North Africa and Asia.


SOP fertilizer is a non-flammable white crystalline salt which is soluble in water and essential for crop growth. It is particularly suitable for chloride sensitive crops like tobacco, tea, pineapple, potato, grape, etc. and sells at a 40 per cent premium to the price of regular muriate of potash (MOP). SOP demand is more stable than MOP.

Australia: Fighting Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution

Excessive nitrogen and phosphorus has emerged as one of the leading causes of degraded water quality. According to the World Resources Institute, over the past 50 years, human activities have caused a doubling of nitrogen pollution and a tripling of phosphorus pollution in coastal areas.


Now the Australian government has allocated $3 million to a project to help reduce the amount of chemicals entering the city of Perth major waterways. They are going to build two new wetlands in Ellenbrook and Bayswater over the next four years in order to reduce pollution in the Swan and Canning Rivers.


The Australian Environment Minister Bill Marmion said it will have an immediate impact on the health of Perth’s rivers and that “the problem with nitrogen and phosphorus is that they create algal blooms in the river if the weather conditions are conducive to that and if [they] lower the nitrogen and phosphorus that will minimize the likelihood of algal blooms in the hot summer period”.

China: Reducing pollution and fighting eutrophication

China is the world’s biggest polluter but they set a lower growth target for the period from 2011 through 2015 as compared with the previous five-year period to help reduce pollution.

The Chinese economic success story is paired with serious environmental degradation, especially the pollution of China’s streams, rivers, lakes, and coastal areas. China suffers from growing shortages of fresh water resources and can ill-afford to have its lakes and rivers rendered unavailable for use because they are too polluted. Water pollution takes an economic toll as well; the World Bank has estimated that the overall cost of water scarcity caused by water pollution amounts to about one percent of Gross Domestic Product.

Algae blooms, such as the ones that occurred in Tai Lake in 2007 and Jiaozhou Bay in Qingdao in 2008, have many harmful effects. The most serious one is that when the masses of algae die, their subsequent decay consumes large quantities of oxygen, causing oxygen levels to fall to levels that are harmful to fish and other organisms. This nutrient enrichment can also promote the growth of algae species such as Cyanobacteria that are toxic to other organisms, sometimes including humans.

The authorities are going to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and ammonia nitrogen, and cut chemical oxygen demand by 1.5 percent this year compared with the previous year, as part of a new environment protection policy.

Egypt: Orascom geared for expansion

Egypt’s Orascom’s fertilizer group sold 1.1 million tons of nitrogen-based fertilizers in the first quarter compared with 0.47 million tonnes a year earlier, the company said. Netback ammonia and calcium ammonium nitrate prices increased 22 percent and 38 percent respectively. Orascom’s expansion of a calcium ammonium nitrate line in the Netherlands is expected to be in full production during 2012, adding about 300,000 tons, or 25 percent, of additional capacity, according to the statement. Sofert Algeria, the Algerian unit, was 96.4 percent completed at the end of March, with commercial production due to start in the fourth quarter.

Fertilizer Prices

Barley Snapshot

Barley serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods. It is used in soups and stews, and in barley bread of various cultures.

The barley fertilizer usage is in the approximate order of  5-2-1 N-P2O5-K2O, and is less than five percent of the global fertilizer consumption.