How is the Ammonia Market Performing in 2022?
Ammonia forms an integral part of the chemical industry, for it is one of the most crucial compounds catering to a variety of reactions and products formed thereof.
What is Ammonia?
Ammonia is an inorganic compound commonly found as a waste product in aquatic animals. It has a pungent smell and a melting point of -77.7 °C. It has no specific colour and is one of the most important products industrially. Therefore, the latest price trends of ammonia, its latest trends, the regional dynamics, and major market players become all the more imperative to structure a conducive launchpad for ammonia-based productions.
Ammonia has three atoms of hydrogen, with one atom of nitrogen centrally bonded with each of the hydrogen atoms. It has a molecular formula of NH3.
How have Ammonia Market and Prices Been Affected in Recent Times?
Ammonia has been affected immensely in recent times owing to a plethora of reasons in different regions. However, the most crucial step in the direction of evaluating the prices of ammonia comes in the form of its industrial applications. From chemical industries to the medical domain, ammonia is a significant conduit of many processes and a progenitor of a motley of products.
Environmental The major application of ammonia propelling its market, demands, and prices are the technological strides and environmentally safer initiatives that are accelerating in the current days. The ’zero-carbon’ pact, sustainable development keeping up with atmospheric preservation, and industrial expansion have fuelled the ammonia market.
Moreover, the production of gases contributing to refrigeration, a key ingredient of cleansing products, and the petroleum industry find the significance of ammonia predominantly. Also, the formation of pesticides, explosives, dyes, plastics, etc., see its notable propulsion.
Synthetic fibres see a staggering application of ammonia; for instance, rayon and nylon see a substantial application of ammonia in their synthesis.
Latest Price Trends of Ammonia
Ammonia has seen a see-saw trend in the year 2022 owing to umpteen factors. Many dynamics, such as the supply-demand equation, logistical impediments, dwindling demands, and sluggish production on the shoulder of copious supplies, have excoriated ammonia prices in most part of 2022.
The prices of ammonia fell through the said quarter owing to the relaxed upstream costs. The prices and supply of coal stabilised after reaching peaks in the first half of the year. With the decrease in feedstock prices, the operating rates soared, leading to stockpiling products in the market. The muted demands from the market, especially the fertiliser industry, further crashed the prices in the market, averaging 840 USD/MT FD in Qingdao, China and 960 USD/MT Spot FD in India.
The price trends for ammonia were on the higher end of the scale in the European region, owing to the soaring prices of crude oil. The European embargo on Russian oil exports caused high-cost inflation in Europe. Many manufacturers, such as BASF, shut down their ammonia production units because of the high operating costs and low margins. The price of ammonia averaged 1602 USD/MT CFR Hamburg during the third quarter.
The prices of ammonia fell in the Us domestic market owing to the dwindling demand from the downstream sectors. Despite the lowered costs of feedstocks and operating costs, the supply and prices remained low due to the cautious buying activity of the buyers amid the interest hikes and economic slowdown. The price of ammonia averaged 1323 USD/MT CFR Tampa towards the end of the quarter.
Key Market Players for Ammonia
Given the fact that ammonia is one of the most extensive products in the chemical industry, finding its passageway across a range of applications, there are many suppliers and producers catering to the production of ammonia. Some of the major manufacturers of ammonia are given below.
- Yara International
- Qatar Fertiliser Company
- Nutrien Ltd.
- Jordan Phosphate Mines Company Limited
- Eurochem Group AG
- Yidu Xingfa Chemical Co. Ltd.
- Yunnan Yuntianhua International Chemical Co. Ltd
- Chemische Fabrik Budenheim KG
- Innophos, Inc.
- Maaden-Saudi Arabian Mining Company
Industrial Production of Ammonia
Although ammonia is biologically synthesised as a major waste product, the industrial grade of ammonia contributes to the significant application of the global ammonia market. There are different processes by which ammonia is synthesised industrially; two of the processes are given below.
Ammonia production through partial oxidation of heavy oils: In the partial oxidation of heavy oil method, feedstocks such as heavy fuel oils and coal are put into use. In this process, the Air Separation Unit synthesises a pure form of nitrogen and oxygen. Further, gasification comes into the picture producing hydrogen from hydrocarbon and oxygen. Finally, the soot, along with the sulphur so produced, is then removed to yield pure-grade ammonia produced industrially.
Ammonia production through Haber’s process: In this process, hydrogen obtained from natural gas is used to produce ammonia upon its reaction with nitrogen. The first step of the process is the production of hydrogen through desulphurisation (from natural gas). Furthermore, methane is made to react with the hydrogen after being sent to a primary reformer. Finally, the gas is made to cool and react with nitrogen to produce ammonia.
Industrial purchasing and procurement of ammonia might be quite a task, especially for early-stage enterprises. Therefore, understanding the nitty-gritty and floundering industrial dynamics need to be kept abreast to understand the pricing and procurement of ammonia. Similarly, it is imperative to be guided with the right strategies and apt approaches.
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