India: New Governmental Nitrogen Fertilizer Policy

In the past 13 years there has been no new urea capacity addition in India. The demand supply-gap has widened over the past decade. Currently domestic urea production is of about 22 million tonnes and the consumption is of some 29 million tonnes; the 7 million tonnes shortfall is bridged through imports. There is now a plan within the Indian authorities to go ahead with a new investment strategy for the fertilizer sector, especially urea. This policy seeks to create a 1.5 million-tonne capacity for the production of urea over a five year-period.

The new policy may provide gas linkage for up to 75 per cent of new capacity created from domestic gas resources, while the rest will have to be met through imports. The Government may provide a subsidy for the price differential between domestic and imported gas.

The proposed policy is for both Greenfield (new plants) and brownfield plants, i.e.
capacity addition to existing plants or revival of old or closed plants. The proposed policy is based on the current availability of gas within the country and rising trend in global gas prices. The new policy is expected to be announced in the Budget for 2012-13 and then the issue will be placed before the Cabinet for a final decision.

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Jordan: Egyptian Natural Gas Supply Triples Its Price

Jordan has signed a revised natural gas deal with Egypt under which its gas imports will cost three times more than before.

The deal was signed in Cairo on Wednesday, Jordan’s official Petra news agency reported, and comes as Egypt’s military rulers have been under pressure to boost gas prices amid domestic criticism that former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime was selling the gas to Israel and others at below-market rates.

Under the new deal, prices were hiked from less than US$2 per 1,000 cubic feet to over US$6 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Jordan depends on Egyptian gas to generate 80% of its electricity. But the pipeline carrying the fuel between the two nations has been attacked 10 times this year in Egypt, making supplies unreliable.

Brazil: Norway’s Yara and Morocco’s OCP agree on a fertilizer JV

Yara International, a Oslo-based fertilizer maker, said it agreed to a broad deal with Moroccan phosphate supplier OCP (Office Cherifien des Phosphates) that includes the establishment of a 50-50 joint venture in Brazil.

The joint venture will import OCP ‘ s phosphate rock to Brazil for processing by Yara into fertilizer and other products. The Moroccan state-run group, which is the world’s top phosphate reserves holder, will also provide raw materials to Yara plants in Europe.

Brazil is a fast-growing agricultural market, in a country of some 200 million people which accounts for approximately seven percent of the world fertilizer consumption. It has been importing about half of the phosphate it has consumed. Domestic phosrock production is of some six million tonnes, but in general it is located far from the production sites. The Brazilian economy is now the sixth largest in the world.

Giant Yara is also securing the long-term raw material supply for their European NPK plants.

Under the arrangement the Moroccan company will gain a 50-percent interest in Yara’s existing terminal and production plant in Rio Grande, Brazil. According to Yara its Rio Grande plant consumes some 350,000 tonnes of phosphate rock to produce up to 650,000 tonnes SSP (single super-phosphate).

Both parties have agreed on the key terms of the j-v and the deal is to be completed in the first quarter of 2012.

Kazakhstan: Faces Threat of European Tariffs on White Phosphorus

The European Union threatened to impose tariffs on white phosphorus from Kazakhstan to limit competition for Dutch producer Thermphos International BV.

The EU opened an inquiry into whether Kazakh manufacturers of the chemical are making dumping by selling it in the 27-nation bloc below cost. White phosphorus is used to make derivatives including chlorides, sulphides and phosphoric acid.

The European Commission, the bloc’s trade authority in Brussels, has nine months to decide whether to impose provisional anti-dumping duties for half a year and EU governments have 15 months to decide whether to apply “definitive” levies for five years. The dumping investigation stems from a Nov. 7 complaint by Thermphos International, which is the EU’s sole producer of white phosphorus, according to the commission.

Jordan: New Phosphate Reserves

The Jordan Geologists Association implemented a preliminary survey covering an area of 250 sq km in north-east Jordan incrementing the Kingdom phosphate reserves in some 200 million tonnes of rock. The resource is close to the surface, making it less expensive to extract, and according to them and at current world prices they are worth some US$30 billion.

The Jordan Phosphate Mines Company (JPMC) has an exclusive concession for phosphate exploration in the country, according to an agreement signed with the government in 2006. JPMC produces up to 7 million tonnes a year of rock, making it the world’s sixth largest phosphate rock producer and the second largest exporter. JPMC owns and operates a fertilizer complex in Aqaba that produces 350,000 tonnes per year of phosphoric acid, 650,000 tonnes per year DAP, and 14,000 tonnes per year aluminium fluoride. They are currently investing about US$ 240 million in expanding the dock at the port of Aqaba, after having signed an agreement with the Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC) in 2010. The new infrastructure, which will have an average annual handling capacity of approximately four million tonnes, will include a 280-metre-long berth equipped with handling equipment. The berth will be connected to a state of the art storage/handling facility with a long haul pipe conveyor all completely equipped as part of JPMC’s obligations whether during construction or operation with the necessary environmental, safety, general security and health equipment and precautions and according to the environmental laws of the ASEZ (Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority).

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Jordan’s current phosphate reserves are some 1.5 billion tonnes rock.

USA: Giant Mosaic to Cut Phosphate Production

The Minnesota-based Mosaic, the world’s largest phosphate fertilizer producer, announced in December it was cutting phosphate production by 250,000 tons through March due to cautious demand and declining prices. Mosaic officials believe that the phosphate industry will be able to absorb additional capacity coming online, including an estimated 2 million tonnes in 2012 from a Saudi Arabian mine project, and observed that the crop prices are staying relatively high. Phosphate shipments in the current year should hit a record 62 million to 64 million tonnes, up from 60 million in 2011 and 51 million in 2007.

USA: Tessenderlo will expand its Idaho facility

Brussels based Tessenderlo Group, the world’s second-biggest maker of potash sulphate, will expand its USA facility located at Burley, Idaho, with an adjacent ATS manufacturing plant. Ammonium thiosulphate is a sulphur based specialty fertilizer for broad acre crops, such as hay, corn, potatoes. The American subsidiary is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, operates 10 manufacturing plants, in addition to an extensive terminal network.

USA: CVR Partners increases UAN production

USA’s CVR Partners has decided to increase the yearly production of urea ammonium nitrate to 1,075,000 tonnes from 675,000 tons by the first quarter of 2013. However, the company faces intense competition from CF Industries, which also owns about 70 percent of Terra Nitrogen. The demand for CVR products is increasing as demand for farming outputs increases, and it had favorable third-quarter results. The company also owns Coffeyville Resources Nitrogen Fertilizers, which has a manufacturing plant in North America that uses petroleum coke to manufacture nitrogen fertilizers instead of natural gas. The company is a subsidiary of CVR Energy.

Egypt: Kima plans new ammonia plant in Aswan

Egypt’s Chemical Industries Holding Co. (Kima) has awarded KBR with a contract for the License and Basic Engineering Design (BED) of a new ammonia plant to be built in Aswan. KBR is a global engineering, construction and services company.