Mitsui & Co., Ltd., one of the leading ammonia marketers in the world, and CF Industries Holdings, Inc., the world’s largest producer of ammonia, have announced their intention to jointly develop a greenfield ammonia production facility in the United States.
The new facility will produce blue ammonia by leveraging carbon capture and sequestration processes to reduce carbon emissions by more than 60% compared to conventional ammonia. Demand for blue ammonia is expected to grow significantly as a decarbonized energy source, both for its hydrogen content and as a fuel itself.
Mitsui and CF Industries have taken the following steps to advance the project:
- The parties have secured an exclusive right to acquire a site in the U.S. Gulf Coast region suitable to construct an export-oriented blue ammonia production facility.
- The parties are concluding selection of a technology provider for the blue ammonia production capacity.
- CF Industries will have 52% and Mitsui will have 48% ownership of the intended joint venture in which the parties will have proportional capital investment and economic returns.
- Mitsui will lead the marketing and distribution for the blue ammonia into Asia.
- CF Industries will be responsible for plant operations and maintenance.
Takashi Furutani, Executive Managing Officer, Chief Operating Officer of Basic Materials Business Unit of Mitsui & Co., Ltd, said: “We look forward to working with CF Industries to develop the low-carbon ammonia project in the United States. Energy solutions remain a strategic focus area for Mitsui; thus, we are excited to commence this new business opportunity with CF Industries in light of global climate action. As a responsible member of the global business community, we will continue to contribute to creating an eco-friendly and sustainable future.”
“Our work with Mitsui has reinforced our shared belief that blue ammonia will play a critical role in accelerating the world’s transition to clean energy and that demand for blue ammonia will grow meaningfully in the second half of this decade,” said Tony Will, president and chief executive officer, CF Industries Holdings, Inc. “We believe that the United States offers considerable advantages for blue ammonia production due to access to plentiful and low-cost natural gas, the regulatory and legal framework in place, and the geology suitable for permanent carbon sequestration.”
The companies anticipate that a front-end engineering design (FEED) study will commence shortly. A FEED study typically requires approximately 9 to 12 months to complete. As a result, the companies expect to make a final investment decision on constructing the blue ammonia production facility in 2023. Construction and commissioning of new world scale ammonia capacity typically takes roughly 4 years from that point. As a result, the new project would be expected to begin production in 2027 at the earliest.
In addition, CF Industries expects to produce up to 2 million tons per year of blue and green ammonia at its existing facilities beginning in 2024. Recognizing the growing demand for blue ammonia in Asia, the parties are discussing a commercial expansion of the joint venture to leverage Mitsui’s considerable marketing and distribution capabilities into that market.