The Outlook Ammonia is published monthly and covers the global market. Our reliable and trustworthy report gives detailed news and analysis on key drivers, price forecasts, demand and supply patterns, deals and visual data, as well as any other pertinent factors influencing the market at the time of publication. This information can allow you to make informed business choices by keeping you abreast of price movements that are likely to impact short-term trades and strategies over the next 12 months. These are produced by Integer Research on behalf of ICIS.
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The Outlook Ammonia: Market overview
Updated to Q3 2016
The ammonia market is expected to remain bearish during the third quarter amid soft demand from the agricultural and industrial sectors on both sides of the Atlantic. By mid-July, several cargoes had already loaded in the US or Trinidad for discharge in other regions, instead of being delivered to the US normally.
Following the unexpected fall in the Tampa price for July loadings, buyers remained aggressive and a further fall, albeit not as steep, is likely for August and September. Compounding the situation for producers is the recent start-up of an export-oriented plant in Russia – that will see Acron ship around 400,000 tonnes in the second half of 2016 – and the imminent commission of a facility in Saudi Arabia run by Ma’aden.
Scheduled turnarounds at plants in the Baltic, Black Sea and Algeria may squeeze the supply chain, but with so many alternate sources of the nitrogen fertilizer, buyers will hold the upper hand for the foreseeable future.
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About The Outlook Ammonia
Ammonia is one of the main sources of nitrogen in fertilisers, as it contains 82% of nitrogen (N), which is essential for the life of plants. Ammonia (NH3) is produced through a chemical reaction (electrolysis). Most of the world’s ammonia production is based on the Haber-Bosch process which was developed by BASF in 1910.
It involves the reaction of hydrogen and nitrogen in the presence of a catalyst under high temperatures and pressures. The hydrogen is usually obtained by the steam reforming of natural gas (methane) but can also be made from the partial oxidation of naphtha and the gasification of coal. The nitrogen is usually obtained by the liquefaction of air.
This reaction requires a large amount of energy and, nowadays, this is provided mainly in the form of natural gas, as it is the most economic, but there are still some ammonia plants, for example in China and Japan, which operate based on naphtha and coal.
Since the 1970s, the production of ammonia, which was born in Europe, has gradually migrated to countries rich in cheap natural gas, such as Russia, Ukraine, Trinidad, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, the Arab Gulf and Indonesia .