Yara, BASF break ground world-scale ammonia plant in Texas

Yara, BASF break ground on world-scale ammonia plant in Texas

5:27 AM, 28th July 2015
Yara, BASF break ground on world-scale ammonia plant in Texas
Torgeir Kvidal, president and CEO, Yara. (File photo)

OSLO, NORWAY/FLORHAM PARK, US: Yara International ASA and BASF SE broke ground on a world scale ammonia plant at the BASF site in Freeport, Texas. Total capital investment for the plant – which is expected to come online in 2017 – is estimated at $600 million.

The plant will have a capacity of about 750,000 metric tonne per year and will be owned 68 percent by Yara and 32 percent by BASF. As part of the project, Yara will build an ammonia tank at the BASF terminal and BASF will upgrade its current terminal and pipeline assets for the export of ammonia from the new plant. Yara will manage construction of the plant; BASF will operate the plant.

BASF will use its share of ammonia from the plant to produce caprolactam, a key ingredient in the manufacture of nylons for carpet, textiles, film, monofilaments, and wire and cable. Yara will market the remainder mostly to industrial customers in North America, in addition to supplying the agricultural sector.

“The building of the Freeport ammonia plant is a firm demonstration of how we deliver on our growth strategy,” said Torgeir Kvidal, president and CEO, Yara.

“BASF is in a period of significant investment in North America. Through the joint investment with Yara, we can take advantage of world-scale production economics and the attractive raw material costs in the US; strengthening our operations in Freeport and the competitiveness of our customer value chain in the region,” said Wayne Smith, chairman and CEO of BASF Corporation and executive directors board member, BASF SE.

The hydrogen based process that will be used in the new plant significantly reduces capital expenditures and maintenance compared to a traditional natural gas based ammonia plant. 

A long-term supply agreement for nitrogen and hydrogen has been signed with Praxair Inc, linking the feedstock variable cost to the advantageous natural gas prices available at the US Gulf coast. KBR Inc, Houston, Texas, has been awarded a fixed price turnkey contract for the engineering, procurement and construction.

Peak construction for the project will create up to 550 jobs. Once completed, operation of the plant will add approximately 35 full time BASF positions in Freeport.

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