Houston Ship Channel could host large-scale ammonia production and export project

Four energy and chemical companies have joined forces to work on the development of a large-scale low-carbon ammonia production and export project on the Houston Ship Channel, the second-largest petrochemical corridor in the world.

Source: Vopak

Namely, INPEX Corporation, Air Liquide, LSB Industries, and Vopak Moda have agreed to collaborate on the pre-FEED for the development of the project which, if developed, in its first phase is targeted to produce more than 1.1 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of low-carbon ammonia by the end of 2027, with options for future expansion.

Earlier this year, the companies completed a feasibility study on the project. Furthermore, the preferred facility’s location on the Houston Ship Channel leverages existing infrastructure assets, and the project has access to utilities and would be near multiple pipelines that could supply raw materials like natural gas and water, the parties explained.

As part of the project, Air Liquide and INPEX would collaborate on low-carbon hydrogen production, utilizing Air Liquide’s AutoThermal Reforming (ATR) technology.

LSB and INPEX would collaborate on low-carbon ammonia production with LSB leading the selection of the ammonia loop technology provider, the pre-FEED, and the engineering, procurement, and construction of the facility. LSB would also be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the ammonia loop.

Additionally, LSB and INPEX would sell the low-carbon ammonia and finalize off-take agreements.

As described, the majority of the product would be used for power generation in Asia with some volumes going to the U.S. and Europe. INPEX, with stakes in both hydrogen and ammonia production, will likely be the largest investor in the overall project across the entire value chain, from production to export.

Vopak Moda currently operates ammonia storage and handling infrastructure from its very large gas carriers (VLGC)-capable deepwater berth which is located in the deepest part of the Houston Ship Channel.  Vopak Moda will maintain its ownership of the existing infrastructure and plans to build additional storage capacity as required to handle the low-carbon ammonia production of the proposed new facility.

INPEX Representative Director, President & CEO Takayuki Ueda said: “As we approach the achievement of our net zero target by 2050, the unveiling of our low carbon ammonia project in Texas, USA, stands as a momentous testament to INPEX’s strong commitment to environmental leadership. This innovative endeavor marks a significant milestone to create a clean fuel supply chain for a sustainable future. By harnessing the power of cutting-edge technologies and collaborative partnerships with Air Liquide, LSB and Vopak Moda, we are accelerating the transition to a low-carbon world, while solidifying our position as a pioneer in energy transformation and a responsible global energy player.”