Acme mulls options for green ammonia offtake deals

  • Spanish Market: Fertilizers, Hydrogen
  • 21/03/23

Indian solar power company Acme is expanding into green fuels and is developing projects in Oman, India, Egypt and elsewhere. Argus spoke to its president and director for green hydrogen and ammonia, Ashwani Dudeja, about offtake deals, electrolysers and policy support.

What is the main barrier to developing green ammonia projects?

Offtake is the key to everything, because without an offtake deal there will be no project finance. Only the multinational oil and gas majors with deep pockets can sponsor projects without project financing. Most renewable players trying to get into the green ammonia and hydrogen space will require project financing, which in turn is linked to long-term offtake.

How will offtake agreements be structured?

An offtake deal with a fixed-price long-term contract is what every developer will strive for — not because developers want it, but because the lenders want it. Most buyers are not willing to sign 20-year contracts on a fixed-price basis. They want some flexibility as well as volatility, so they want the ammonia price to be linked with either the grey ammonia price or the oil price or something else that is more liquid and can be hedged, if required. We will have to come up with some formulas that are acceptable to the buyer and allow the lenders to provide project financing. We don't know whether we will be successful or which model could be successful, but we have to keep trying. Fortunately, we now have templates, so future agreements should move faster. We think it could be a benchmark for others to follow. We would also be happy to follow if there was an industry move towards a green ammonia price index — let's say fob Oman, fob Middle East, fob US Gulf coast — that can help bring liquidity. Regional prices would also need to take into account the different subsidies in different locations.

Would Acme consider going into electrolyser manufacturing as well?

We are keeping our options open. We have multiple projects, and electrolysers are a key component. If we have some control over supply chain and subsequent maintenance that would be an advantage. We are in discussions to collaborate with multiple counterparties, but there are no concrete plans yet.

What effect could India's recent policy initiatives have?

India's national hydrogen mission could have a similar effect to US legislation by incentivising production, although of course it's a much smaller package of around $2bn. There is a lot of work going on for incentivising the demand side — soon there will be policy either in the form of subsidies or mandates for certain sectors. It will take a longer time to develop a market in India so initially our focus will be on export, but we are not shying away from demand creation in India as well and we are exploring possibilities for using hydrogen in industries and the mobility segment.

How will EU legislation affect projects that want to supply Europe?

The legislation hasn't come as a surprise, but we had hoped they would be more lenient on things like temporal correlation. They've given some breathing space up to 2029, but after that projects must follow an hourly correlation. It's not impossible, but it increases the cost because you need to store not just hydrogen molecules but also the electrons. That increases capital expenditure and ultimately the cost of end products for consumers.

Acme planned projects
LocationCountryGreen ammonia capacity (mn t/yr) Status
Tamil NaduIndia1.1Under development
OdishaIndia1.1Feasibility study
KarnatakaIndia1.1Feasibility study
Ain SokhnaEgypt2.1Feasibility study
DuqmOman1.2FID for first stage imminent

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24/04/24

Norway-German H2 pipeline hinges on demand: Equinor

Norway-German H2 pipeline hinges on demand: Equinor

London, 24 April (Argus) — Norway and Germany have renewed a commitment to the idea of a hydrogen pipeline, but Norwegian state-owned Equinor expects the link will come in a secondary stage of development as it is focused on hydrogen production in mainland Europe as a first step. Equinor plans to take a final investment decision in late 2025 on its 210,000 t/yr Eemshaven low-carbon hydrogen plant in the Netherlands, the company's director of H2 northwest Europe Henrik Solgaard Andersen said at the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells conference in Hanover. Equinor hopes the project will supply German buyers that participate in the country's carbon contracts for difference (CfD) auctions, which are designed to help large industry decarbonise, Andersen said. Equinor has entered the final phase of studies for the plant. The facility would reform natural gas from the Norwegian offshore to hydrogen with carbon capture and storage (CCS). Undertaking this in the Netherlands means existing pipelines can be used to carry the gas from Norway rather than having to build new links. Equinor sees this as its most mature hydrogen project, followed by one near the German port of Rostock , and one near Ghent in Belgium , according to Andersen. These "local European projects" are designed for early market development and "will be the first step," he said. Equinor expects to start large-scale production of hydrogen in Norway with pipeline exports to the continent only when there is a big enough market, he said. "You don't invest in a pipeline €4bn-6bn just for [transporting] a few molecules," he said. "You need to believe in the market." Equinor in early 2023 announced a plan to supply hydrogen from Norway to German utility RWE for use in power plants. But Berlin has shifted its plans for hydrogen power a couple of times since then. It also has ambitions to use hydrogen in sectors like steel, but companies have not yet taken firm investment decisions, meaning there is uncertainty about how much hydrogen demand will materialise and when. A joint government task force working on a Norwegian-German pipeline has identified the first regulatory barriers that need to be addressed, and private infrastructure companies will continue to study the logistics, according to an announcement from Oslo and Berlin. This will build on the positive feasibility study from last year. German gas system operator operator Gascade, which is developing the AquaDuctus North Sea pipeline connection to Germany, and Norwegian state-owned operator Gassco that is developing the Norwegian side, are aiming for a 2030 start date, the companies reaffirmed this week. Gascade has proposed an open access pipeline that would be able to aggregate hydrogen exports from England, Scotland, Norway, Denmark, and North Sea wind farms. By Aidan Lea Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

US amsul stripping margin rises again in April


19/04/24
19/04/24

US amsul stripping margin rises again in April

Houston, 19 April (Argus) — The stripping margin for ammonium sulfate (amsul), driven by higher amsul prices, continued to rise in April even as variable costs grew. The stripping margin increased by nearly $24/st to $270/st for April, up by 10pc from March and up by 13pc from April 2023. Inland amsul trade exceeded $400/short tons (st) this month on continued supply tightness following production outages in the first quarter. Minimal length at New Orleans (Nola) spurred sellers to offer imported tons as high as $405/st fob for first half May delivery. Participants in the amsul market anticipate values to keep rising into May as supply tightness persists. Higher amsul prices have been partially caused by higher costs for inputs. The Tampa, Florida, ammonia contract rose by 7pc to $475/st in April from the month prior and the sulfur Tampa contract climbed by 17pc to $81 per long ton (lt) from the previous quarter. The cost of ammonia and sulfur were 8pc and 27pc lower than a year earlier, respectively. The total variable cost for amsul rose by $10/st in April to $143/st after holding steady in March. Rising ammonia prices have supported amsul variable costs but gains in the price of ammonia have not been as substantive as the market expected, sources said. Applications of ammonia in the US are slowing, which may weaken the price of the Tampa contract, but production outages could offset seasonal declines. Ma'aden's ammonia II plant is due to undergo a month of maintenance starting mid-April. Sulfur prices are expected to remain firm in the near term but lose momentum entering the third quarter on higher refinery utilization in the US and the return of Chinese exports of MAP and DAP, which could oversaturate the phosphate fertilizer market. Sulfuric acid is used to produce DAP and MAP. By Meghan Yoyotte Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Phosphates: Indian DAP stocks build in March


19/04/24
19/04/24

Phosphates: Indian DAP stocks build in March

London, 19 April (Argus) — DAP stocks rose by the equivalent of 2-3 import cargoes in March, or nearly 86,000t, as imports and local production outstripped offtake. Indian DAP production reached 218,900t in March, according to FAI data, down nearly 41pc on the same month in 2023. DAP imports reached 201,000t in March, down nearly 54pc on March 2023. Sales of DAP reached 334,200t, down nearly 12pc year on year. Stock draw/build, defined as production plus imports minus offtake, was plus 85,700t. This implies that stocks are still close to 2mn t of DAP, as estimated by the Indian government. Full fertilizer year DAP production (April 2023-March 2024) reached 4.29mn t, down around 1pc year on year. Imports were down 15.4pc at 5.57mn t, mainly due to the loss of supply from China owing to customs inspections, with sales at 10.8mn t, up nearly 4pc year on year. By Mike Nash Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Canada furthers investment in GHG reductions


18/04/24
18/04/24

Canada furthers investment in GHG reductions

Houston, 18 April (Argus) — The Canadian government plans to have C$93bn ($67.5bn) in federal incentives up and running by the end of the year to spur developments in clean energy technology, hydrogen production, carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) along with a new tax credit for electric vehicle (EV) supply chains. The Canada Department of Finance, in its 2024 budget released on 16 April, said it expects to have the first planned investment tax credits (ITCs), for CCUS and renewable energy investments, in law before 1 June. The ITCs would be available for investments made generally within or before 2023 depending on the credit. The anticipated clean hydrogen ITC is also moving forward. It could provide 15-40pc of related eligible costs, with projects that produce the cleanest hydrogen set to receive the higher levels of support, along with other credits for equipment purchases and power-purchase agreements. The government is pursuing a new ITC for EV supply chains, meant to bolster in-country manufacturing and consumer adoption of EVs with a 10pc return on the cost of buildings used in vehicle assembly, battery production and related materials. The credit would build on the clean technology manufacturing ITC, which allows businesses to claim 30pc of the cost of new machinery and equipment. To bolster reductions in transportation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the government will also direct up to C$500mn ($363mn) in funding from the country's low-carbon fuel standard to support domestic biofuel production . Transportation is the second largest source of GHG emissions for the country, at 28pc, or 188mn metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent, in 2021. But the province of Alberta expressed disappointment at the pace of development of ITC support that could help companies affected by the country's move away from fossil fuels. "There was nothing around ammonia or hydrogen, and no updates on the CCUS ITCs that would actually spur on investment," Alberta finance minister Nate Horner said. The incentives are intended to help Canada achieve a 40-45pc reduction in GHG emissions by 2030, relative to 2005 levels. This would require a reduction in GHG emissions to about 439mn t/yr, while Canada's emissions totaled 670mn in 2021, according to the government's most recent inventory. The budget also details additional plans for the Canada Growth Fund's carbon contracts for a difference, which help decarbonize hard-to-abate industries. The government plans to add off-the-shelf contracts to its current offering of bespoke one-off contracts tailored to a specific enterprise to broaden the reach and GHG reductions of the program. These contracts incentivize businesses to invest in emissions reducing program or technology, such as CCUS, through the government providing a financial backstop to a project developer. The government and developer establish a "strike price" that carbon allowances would need to reach for a return on the investment, with the government paying the difference if the market price fails to increase. CGF signed its first contract under this program last year , with Calgary-based carbon capture and sequestration company Entropy and has around $6bn remaining to issue agreements. To stretch this funding further, the Canadian government intends for Environment and Climate Change Canada to work with provincial and territorial carbon markets to improve performance and potentially send stronger price signals to spur decarbonization. By Denise Cathey Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

EPS to register six ammonia-powered newbuilds with SRS


17/04/24
17/04/24

EPS to register six ammonia-powered newbuilds with SRS

London, 17 April (Argus) — Shipping firm Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) will register six dual-fuel ammonia powered vessels, due to be delivered from 2026, with the Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS). The commitment is part of an initial agreement with Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority (MPA), vessel classification organisation American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and Lloyd's Register. EPS said the collaboration with the MPA will extend to supporting crew and seafarer training on the vessels powered by "zero and near-zero emission fuels", in addition to pilot trials of these fuels, and building on the capacity and infrastructure required for ammonia bunkering. Argus assessed the price of green ammonia dob east Asia on a very-low sulphur fuel oil energy density equivalent (VLSFOe) at $2,608.90/t in March, a premium of over $1,975.08/t against VLSFO dob Singapore. Grey ammonia in east Asia was assessed at an average of $829.52/t VLSFOe across March, a premium of $195.70/t to VLSFO dob Singapore. By Hussein Al-Khalisy Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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