Foreign Investment A Shot in the Arm for Domestic Nitrogen

December 20, 2013 07:37 AM

A few weeks ago, Northern Plains Nitrogen of Grand Forks, ND announced it had inked a deal with a Chinese engineering firm for expertise and assistance in the construction phase of the new nitrogen production facility.

Word comes today of more Chinese involvement in another nitrogen project, this one in Southern Indiana. President Doug Wilson of Ohio Valley Resources announced a financing deal has been reached with an unnamed Chinese firm for a proposed facility near the town of Rockport.

Foreign investment has been a big part in financing and constructing America's burgeoning nitrogen boom as part of an attitude shift that has investors from all over the globe leaning toward tangible assets in the U.S. rather than paper assets.

Cronus chemicals from Turkey, Orascom Industries from Egypt, Fatima Fertilizer from Pakistan and a host of foreign investors have all thrown in for American made nitrogen. This should give U.S. investors confidence in these projects and a clear sign that, at least in other parts of the world, the numbers behind domestic nitrogen production pan-out.

The irony is that one of the aims of domestic nitrogen production is to minimize nitrogen imports, thereby mitigating price volatility. The projects currently underway in the U.S. are not large enough to eliminate the need for imported nitrogen, but every little bit helps. With foreign investment dollars and expertise pouring in to these projects, cash flow through the construction phases should remain fluid, and construction is more likely to remain on schedule.

The Rockport, IN facility and another in Evansville will produce ammonia and other nitrogen fertilizers with the doors expected to open in late 2017.

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