ADNOC, Fertiglobe tie up to sell UAE’s first Blue Ammonia to Japan’s Itochu

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The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), in partnership with Fertiglobe, has sold its first cargo of blue ammonia to leading general trading company Itochu in Japan, for use in fertilizer production.

The sale, announced by the UAE oil major on Tuesday, builds upon recently announced joint efforts to enhance industrial cooperation between the UAE and Japan and support the development of new UAE-Japan blue ammonia supply chains.

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ADNOC, as part of its policy of proactive carbon management, has also been an early pioneer in the emerging market for hydrogen and its carrier fuels, such as blue ammonia, driving the UAE’s leadership role in creating international hydrogen value chains and a local hydrogen ecosystem.

Fertiglobe, a 58:42 partnership between OCI and ADNOC, will produce blue ammonia at its Fertil plant in the Ruwais Industrial Complex in Abu Dhabi for delivery to ADNOC’s customers in Japan.

The shipments, which were sold at an attractive premium to grey ammonia, underscore the favorable economics for blue ammonia as an emerging source of low-carbon energy.

According to ADNOC, these shipments represent the first production milestone of a planned scale-up of blue ammonia production capabilities in Abu Dhabi, which is expected to include a low-cost debottlenecking program at Fertil.

It was announced in June that Fertiglobe will join ADNOC and ADQ as a partner in a new world-scale 1 million metric tons per annum blue ammonia project at TA’ZIZ in Ruwais, subject to regulatory approvals.

Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and ADNOC Managing Director and Group CEO, said: “Today’s announcement builds upon ADNOC’s commitment to expanding the UAE’s position as a regional leader in the production of hydrogen and its carrier fuels, meeting the needs of critical global export markets such as Japan.

Through the expansion of our capabilities across the blue ammonia value chain, we look forward to furthering our legacy as one of the world’s least carbon intensive hydrocarbon producers and supporting industrial decarbonization with a competitive low-carbon product portfolio.”

Masaya Tanaka, Executive Officer of ITOCHU Corporation, President of the Energy & Chemicals Company and COO of the Power & Environmental Solution Division, said: “We are pleased that ITOCHU, is contributing to a low-carbon society together with ADNOC. Starting with this trial of blue ammonia for fertilizer applications, we aim to create a wide range of ammonia value chains for existing industrial applications as well as future energy use. By collaborating with ADNOC and Fertiglobe, we expect to initiate and enhance our industrial portfolio in the fertilizer sector while achieving our commitments towards decarbonization activities in other industries.”

Fertiglobe is the world’s largest seaborne exporter of nitrogen fertilizers, and its Fertil plant is one of the largest regional fertilizer producers with production capacity of 1.2 million metric tons of ammonia and 2.1 million metric tons of urea. While the ammonia Fertil produces is typically considered as “grey” ammonia, the plant will be fitted with CO2 liquefaction units, and CO2 will be transferred to -- and reinjected into -- underground reservoirs by the ADNOC Al Reyadah carbon capture and storage plant to facilitate the production of blue ammonia.

Ammonia can be used as a low-carbon fuel across a wide range of industrial applications, including transportation, power generation, refining and industries including steel, wastewater treatment, cement and fertilizer production.

For Japan, in particular, hydrogen and its carrier fuels, such as blue ammonia, are expected to play an important role in the country’s ongoing industrial decarbonization efforts.
ADNOC is a regional leader in carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) and is leveraging its experience to build its blue ammonia business.

ADNOC announced in May that it will advance a world-scale blue ammonia production facility at the TA’ZIZ industrial ecosystem in Ruwais, Abu Dhabi. The design contract for this project has already been awarded, with a final investment decision for the project expected in 2022, and start-up targeted for 2025.

The facility’s capacity will be 1 million tons per annum. In June, Fertiglobe entered an agreement to join the project, subject to regulatory approvals.

The company continues to engage with customers and partners to unlock new opportunities for blue hydrogen and hydrogen carrier fuels.

Read more: OCI confirms potential Abu Dhabi listing for fertilizer joint venture with ADNOC

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