Gulf Coast Ammonia LLC (GCA), Air Products, and Eastman Chemical Company have reached final financing agreements to build the world’s largest single-train ammonia synthesis loop in Texas City, TX. The facility will provide roughly 1.3 million tons of ammonia per year (about 9% of the world’s supply) when it opens in 2023.
The facility’s location was made possible by county tax abatements approved by the Galveston County Commissioners Court in December 2019, and negotiated by the county’s Economic Development Department.
In addition to being the largest of its type, the new facility will provide state of the art safety standards in terms of production and storage of ammonia.
GCA is investing $600 million towards the construction, operation, and ownership of the ammonia plant.
“This new world-class facility will meet domestic and global demands for nitrogen-based fertilizers to improve crop production and yields to feed the world’s growing population, as well as specialty chemical production on the Texas Gulf Coast,” said GCA’s CEO Ken Koye. “The facility and associated infrastructure will generate major economic benefits in Galveston County, including more than 40 permanent operations jobs and more than 1,000 construction jobs at peak.”
Air Products is investing $500 million towards the development of the company’s largest steam methane reformer for production of hydrogen, a build-out of its world’s largest hydrogen pipeline to connect to Texas City, the construction of an air separation unit to supply nitrogen, and operation of a steam turbine generator to provide utilities to GCA’s ammonia plant.
This project represents Air Products’ largest singular investment in the United States. Not only will the project define a new source of production for Texas City’s diverse industrial park, but it also increases Air Products’ commitment to the build-out of its Gulf Coast hydrogen pipeline. It will now scale from Texas City, through the Houston Ship Channel, leading to New Orleans, LA. Air Products currently supplies 1.7 billion feet of hydrogen per day through its 24 hydrogen production facilities.
“This is an exciting project that we are very proud to have won. When all facets of this project are combined, it sets a new high for Air Products’ investment—$500 million—for one project in the United States. This project will showcase Air Products’ core strengths and capabilities supplying hydrogen from an SMR and nitrogen from an ASU, and leverages our core industrial gas strengths in many ways,” said Seifi Ghasemi, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Air Products.
“In addition to this being our largest-ever U.S. investment, the project also sets other Air Products’ milestones,” Ghasemi added. “It will feature the largest SMR we have ever built and will operate, the largest per-day amount of hydrogen supplied to a single customer under one contract, and it increases the size and supply capacity of Air Products’ extensive hydrogen pipeline system in the Gulf Coast, which is the world’s largest. This is all successfully combined under a long-term contract for a project located in the United States.”
The plant will be situated on land owned by Eastman Chemical Company within Texas City’s industrial park and include a portion of Eastman’s port access. Not only will Eastman be gaining two long-term tenants and a reduction in utility costs, but they will also be provided with an avenue to purchase cost-advantaged ammonia for the production of its specialty products.
“We are excited to welcome Gulf Coast Ammonia and Air Products to our Texas City site and to help bring growth to the Texas City area through this mutually beneficial project,” said Lucian Boldea, executive vice president of Additives & Functional Products and Chemical Intermediates. “We are seeing increasing interest in opportunities at the site and are continuing to work on additional value-creating strategic projects.”
GCA has already secured long-term offtake contracts for a majority of its ammonia production while also acquiring supply agreements for its required feedstock.
Starwood Energy Group Global LLC and Mabanaft GmbH & Co. KG both wholly own GCA through a shared joint venture. Gulf Coast Ammonia’s sister company, Oil Tanking North America, will own and operate its marine facilities.
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