Japan’s Idemitsu joins US low-carbon ammonia project

  • Market: Fertilizers
  • 27/02/24

Japanese refiner Idemitsu will participate in a planned low-carbon ammonia production project at Lake Charles in the US state of Louisiana, aiming to export the cleaner fuel to Japan.

Idemitsu has agreed with Japanese trading house Mitsubishi and Swiss methanol producer Proman to join their ammonia project that is targeting exports to Japan, the refiner said on 27 February.

Tokyo expects domestic demand for fuel ammonia to continue rising to meet the country's net zero by 2050 goal, which has prompted companies like Mitsubishi and Idemitsu to seek fuel ammonia supply opportunities.

The US project is targeting to produce around 1.2mn t/yr of low-carbon ammonia by the April 2030-March 2031 fiscal year, using natural gas and carbon capture and storage technology. The amount of ammonia that is planned to be shipped to Japan from the project is unclear. The investment ratio of the three partners is also undisclosed.

Idemitsu is pushing forward with a plan to set up an ammonia import base using the existing infrastructure of its Tokuyama complex at Shunan in western Japan's Yamaguchi prefecture. It aims to supply over 1mn t/yr of low-carbon ammonia by 2030 to industry consumers, such as in the chemical and steel sectors, in the Tokuyama complex and nearby areas.

Mitsubishi is aiming to import around 1mn t/yr of ammonia by 2030 for delivery to its Namikata terminal, where existing LPG tanks will be converted to store the cleaner fuel, in western Japan's Ehime prefecture. Mitsubishi is developing the Namikata project together with utility Shikoku Electric Power, carmaker Mazda, refiner Taiyo Oil, industrial gas firm Taiyo Nippon Sanso and terminal operator Namikata Terminal. The goal is to supply the cleaner fuel to customers in Japan's Shikoku and Chugoku regions by coastal vessels from the Namikata hub.

Japan's demand for ammonia as a fuel is likely to hit 3mn t/yr by 2030 and 30mn t/yr by 2050, according to the country's trade and industry ministry. This will help Japan reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 46pc by 2030 from 2013 levels, before it achieves net zero emissions by 2050.


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