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Yara and BASF open new ammonia plant in Texas

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World Fertilizer,

Yara International ASA and BASF have announced that they have officially opened a new world scale ammonia plant in Freeport, Texas, US.

The US$600 million facility is state-of-the-art and utilises a cost efficient and sustainable production process based on by-product hydrogen as opposed to natural gas. It is located on BASF’s site in Freeport, and has a capacity of 750 000 metric tpy of ammonia. Each party will offtake ammonia according to their ownership share.

The President and CEO of Yara, Svein Tore Holsether, said: “Together with our partners at BASF, we built a world-scale ammonia plant that not only raises the bar in terms of safety, efficiency and quality but also applies the principles of industrial symbiosis by using a by-product as feedstock for ammonia production.

“Yara Freeport strengthens our leading position in the global ammonia market and expands our production footprint in North America.”

Wayne T. Smith, member of the board of executive directors of BASF SE and Chairman and CEO of BASF Corp., added: “This joint venture with Yara not only strengthens our production Verbund at the Freeport site, it demonstrates BASF's commitment to investing in North America.

“The new plant allows us to take advantage of world scale production economics and attractive raw material costs to strengthen the competitiveness of our customer value chain in the region.”

Most conventional ammonia plants use natural gas to produce the hydrogen required during the ammonia production process. Yara Freeport’s hydrogen-based technology enables the plant to forego this initial step. This leads to lower CAPEX, as well as lower maintenance costs. By making use of hydrogen, which originates from the production processes of a number of nearby petrochemical plants, Yara Freeport safeguards resources and mitigates environmental impact.

According to the statement, a long-term supply agreement for hydrogen and nitrogen with Praxair Inc. – an industrial gases company – links feedstock costs to the advantageous natural gas prices on the US Gulf Cost.

BASF will reportedly use its share of ammonia offtake to produce polyamide 6. This is frequently used in the production of carpet fibres, packaging and casings for the wire and cable markets. Polyamide 6 for injection molding is used in high performance engineering plastics for automotive applications. Yara will market its share of ammonia to industrial customers and the agricultural sector in North America. In order to support this new plant, Yara will construct a storage facility at Port Freeport. BASF upgraded its existing terminal and pipeline assets.

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