Europe, Fertilizers, Markets, News, Phosphate

Developments in Europe’s Fertilizer Sector: & in Focus

Europe’s fertilizer sector is rapidly evolving. Regulations are tightening up on production and usage, farming subsidies are being reduced, and growers are gravitating towards organics. Consequently, producers are responding in a number of ways.
When it comes to nitrogen, ammonia capacity in Europe stands at approximately 21 million tpy. Production plants are spread over 17 different countries, with Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and Romania accounting for over half. Until recently, European ammonia producers endured relatively high feedstock and energy costs, but the price of gas has plummeted in recent years, partly due to new supplies of LNG emanating from North America and Russia. The outlook for gas prices in Europe looks to remain low for the foreseeable future, as the imminent commissioning of Nord Stream 2 will add a further 50 billion m3/yr to the mix. In 2019, ANWIL began building three new units at its chemical complex in Wloclawek, Poland, and Swiss-based EuroChem Group opened a new ammonia plant in Kingisepp, Russia.
When it comes to phosphorus, EU agriculture consumes approximately 1.3 million tpy of phosphorus fertilizer. Except for small deposits in Finland, economic reserves of phosphate rock do not exist in Europe. The essential fertilizer ingredient must be imported from Morocco, Russia and other nations, and is then blended into nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) fertilizer. Israel-based ICL Fertilizers, a major supplier of phosphate fertilizer to the EU, has announced that it intends to replace up to 15% of their phosphate rock usage with recovered phosphate from sewage, ashes and other sustainable sources. The EU announced in 2018 a cap on levels of cadmium – heavy metal that is toxic and is present in most phosphate deposits – in fertilizers. The exposure to cadmium is known to cause cancer as well as adversely affect the body’s lung, heart and intestines. Russia’s PhosAgro and Norway’s Yara have phosphate deposits with low levels of cadmium, while Morocco and Tunisia have deposits that exceed the limit.

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