TOPIC PAGE: Fertilizers - navigating the global downturn

Author: Deepika Thapliyal


The sharp global economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the collapse in crude oil prices has wide-ranging implications for the fertilizers industry.

Bookmark this Topic Page to stay up to date at this unprecedented time with expert insight and analysis of the impact these developments are having on fertilizer markets.

Scroll down to see the latest interactive graphics, podcasts and videos.

Credit: Shutterstock


Brazil's Petrobras yet to receive formal offers for sale of nitrogen fertilizer units

By Richard Ewing 1-Dec-20 LONDON (ICIS)--Petrobras has yet to find a buyer for shuttered ammonia and urea plants run by wholly-owned subsidiary Araucária Nitrogenados SA (ANSA), bosses of the Brazilian energy major disclosed on Tuesday.

Source - Petrobras

VIDEO: Global Oil Outlook - Five drivers to watch in week 49

By Sophie Udubasceanu 1-Dec-20 London (ICIS) --Global oil markets remained transfixed on the OPEC+ output cuts meeting delayed to Thursday. Improvements in China paves way for hopes of a faster demand recovery.

Poland’s PKN Orlen nitrogen, fertilizers Anwil expansion 32% complete

By Will Conroy 26-Nov-20 LONDON (ICIS)--PKN Orlen’s construction of a fertilizer plant that will expand its Anwil unit’s nitrogen capacity by around 50% is 32% complete and remains on schedule, the Polish energy and petrochemicals major said this week.

Capacity at the Anwil site will rise from 966,000 tonnes/year to 1.46m tonnes/year with a third production line to produce nitrate, ammonium sulphate nitrate, and magnesium ammonium nitrate fertilizers.

Saudi Aramco completes issuance of $8bn worth of international bonds

By Pearl Bantillo 26-Nov-20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest crude oil exporter, has completed issuance of international bonds worth $8bn in five tenors.

PODCAST: Global sulphuric acid trading intensifies as Chile talks near conclusion

By Sylvia Traganida 23-Nov-20 LONDON (ICIS)--As year-end looms, trading activity in the global sulphuric acid market has picked up pace. Sylvia Traganida talks to Andy Hemphill and Annalise Porter about the latest market news.

Click here to listen in a new window.

ADNOC unveils ambition to scale up hydrogen and ammonia operations

By Richard Ewing 23-Nov-20 LONDON (ICIS)--Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) was on Sunday mandated to explore potential opportunities in the fast-emerging hydrogen sector, with such an investment likely to involve ammonia production.

The energy and petrochemicals major already produces hydrogen for its downstream operations and will now look at ways to help meet global demand for hydrogen and ammonia derived from natural gas.

Australia's Fortescue mulls 250,000 tonne/year green ammonia plant in Tasmania

By Richard Ewing 17-Nov-20 LONDON (ICIS)--Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) on Tuesday confirmed that it is looking to develop a 250,000 tonne/year green ammonia plant in Tasmania to serve the domestic and international fertilizer markets.

The project envisages the construction of a 250 MW green hydrogen plant at the Bell Bay Industrial Precinct as part of the Tasmanian government’s Renewable Hydrogen Industry Development Funding program.

Source - Fortescue

Saudi Aramco plans international bond issuance after Q3 earnings slump

By Nurluqman Suratman 17-Nov-20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Saudi Aramco is planning to issue international bonds after its earnings were hit by low oil demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The bonds will have maturities of three, five, 10, 30 and/or 50 years, subject to market conditions.

India’s Grasim to sell fertiliser arm to Indorama

By Priya Jestin 13-Nov-20 MUMBAI (ICIS)--India’s Grasim Industries will divest its entire stake in its fertiliser business, Indo Gulf Fertilisers (IGF) to Indorama India for a consideration of Rs 26.49bn ($354.47m), the company said in a statement.

IGF operates a 1.2m tonnes/year urea plant at Jagdishpur in northern Uttar Pradesh state and is also engaged in trading urea and other agricultural inputs, Grasim said in the statement on 12 November.

GF plant in Jagdishpur. Source - Grasim

PODCAST: Coronavirus vaccine drives oil prices but challenges remain

By Sophie Udubasceanu 13-Nov-20 LONDON (ICIS)--The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine rattled oil prices this week, but the rally slowed down by 12 November. Challenges remain, with widespread distribution now key to demand recovery.

Why has the reaction been so strong so far? What does the shift in the oil forward curve indicate? Market experts Sophie Udubasceanu and Richard Price discuss the market’s outlook.

EU, eurozone third-quarter GDP growth revised down

By Jonathan Lopez 13-Nov-20 LONDON (ICIS)--The EU’s GDP grew by 11.6% in the third quarter, compared to the second quarter, a reduction of half percentage point from the first estimate, statical agency Eurostat said on Friday.

The eurozone’s GDP growth stood at 12.6%, revising down its first estimate of 12.7%.

British government mulls ban on farmers using urea under air pollution crackdown

By Richard Ewing 3-Nov-2020 LONDON (ICIS)--Farmers across the UK were on Tuesday facing a potential total ban on the use of solid urea fertilizers in a government clampdown on ammonia emissions to better protect human health and the environment.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has launched a consultation to seek views on reducing ammonia emissions from solid urea fertilizers used for growing plants and crops.

Plans unveiled for new 1-2m tonne/year urea plant in South Australia

By Richard Ewing 3-Nov-20 LONDON (ICIS)--Plans for a 1m tonne/year granular urea plant in South Australia to serve the domestic and, potentially, foreign markets were announced on Monday by Leigh Creek Energy Limited (LCK).

The Adelaide-based firm has published a pre-feasibility study (PFS) for an Australian dollar (A$) 2.6bn ($1.85bn) nitrogen fertilizer facility that could double capacity in the medium term, and is already in talks with possible offtake partners.

Sulphur market extends gains on continued demand

By Erica Sesay 30-Oct-20 LONDON (ICIS)--Pricing momentum in the global sulphur market was sustained for another week, with prices in the east rising to a 14-month high.

In the Arab Gulf, Qatar’s Muntajat kicked off the November posted prices announcement with a $4/tonne increase on October’s price.

US ageing infrastructure a concern for fertilizers industry - TFI president

By Sylvia Traganida 29-Oct-20 LONDON (ICIS)--The US' ageing infrastructure is a concern for the fertilizers industry and the country is losing its competitive edge compared with other regions, according to the new president of The Fertilizer Institute (TFI).

Corey Rosenbusch said good infrastructure has historically been a key component of US agriculture’s comparative advantage in world markets, but it is being eroded now.

Japan's government embracing ammonia as fuel of the future in zero-carbon emissions drive

By Richard Ewing 28-Oct-20 LONDON (ICIS)--The Japanese government on Tuesday held the inaugural meeting of a special council (committee) to explore and promote the use of ammonia as a fuel as part of a nationwide push to greener technology.

Established as part of the country's zero carbon emissions strategy, the council's first sitting came just weeks after Japan received the world's first ever cargo of blue ammonia that involved carbon capture.

Source - TFI

PODCAST: Urea market outlook stable for short term

By Sylvia Traganida 27-Oct-20 LONDON (ICIS)---Global urea prices are seen as stable for the next few weeks with India absorbing 2.2m tonnes of excess supply in the market. The question now is what happens next. ICIS editors Julia Meehan and Deepika Thapliyal discuss the medium term outlook for the market and the factors that will influence prices in 2020-2021.

Click here to listen in a new window.

Norwegian fertz giant Yara seeking to spearhead green ammonia and hydrogen revolution

By Richard Ewing 20-Oct-20 LONDON (ICIS)--Norway's Yara is promising to play a key role in the decarbonisation of the global fertilizer industry through zero emission technology focused on green ammonia and green hydrogen, senior executives reiterated on Tuesday.

One of the world's largest manufacturers of ammonia - which comprises nitrogen and hydrogen - and with large plants on most continents, the group sees the development of "green energy" as crucial to its sustainability goals and initiatives.

Global Fertilizer Trade Flow Map

ICIS is excited to announce the launch and production of the Global Fertilizer Trade Flow Map in partnership with the International Fertilizer Association (IFA).

The map provides a geographical picture of the trade flows of fertilizer products between the major producing and importing countries in the world, as well as production and consumption data.

The Fertilizer Trade Flow Map provides:

  • The world’s major producing countries of fertilizers and raw materials
  • The main fertilizer consuming countries
  • Trends in prices for ammonia, diammonium phosphate (DAP), muriate of potash (MOP), urea, sulphur, sulphuric acid and natural gas

Click here to download the map for free.