Cronus Chemicals Llc has received tax incentives from the state of Illinois to build a urea production facility in Tuscola. Illinois Senate and House representatives approved measures to allow for a 14.5 million dollar tax break on construction materials and expenses.
While opponents of the project call it a last minute pet project, the plant is expected to bring new jobs and economic opportunity to the area, which labors under a 14% unemployment rate. Mitchell County, Iowa had also been considered as a possible construction site, but in the end, Illinois won out.
The cost of the entire project is expected to be $1.4 billion and will also require road construction and the connection of a pipeline to Champaign which will provide waste water to the facility. Up to 2000 jobs will be created by the initial construction, and once the complex is operational, it will employ around 150 full time workers.
The United States has long needed to increase domestic nitrogen production capacity. Before hydraulic fracking created an energy boom, U.S. plants had to deal with thin margins based on imported natural gas, making greenfield nitrogen projects impractical. But a new day has dawned and Illinois now joins those states who are aggressively pursuing nitrogen projects and expansions.
Production capacity and an opening date have yet to be publicized. Ground will have to be broken, permits acquired along with a laundry list of hoops to jump through. But the granting of tax incentives proves the State Legislature is on board with the project, and we will keep you posted as developments and further information become available.