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Exclusive: OCI Global exploring ammonia and methanol asset sales

Global ammonia and methanol producer OCI Global is working with an investment bank to explore a sale of ammonia and methanol assets as part of the re-opening of its strategic business review.

OCI Global is evaluating a sale of several ammonia and methanol assets as part of the re-opening of its strategic business review.

The global producer and distributor of methanol and ammonia is working with Morgan Stanley to explore a sale of its ammonia production facility in Beaumont, Texas, as well as the co-located blue ammonia project under development, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The evaluation also includes OCI’s methanol business, one of the sources said.

Representatives of OCI and Morgan Stanley did not respond to requests for comment.

As part of the earlier strategic review announced last year, OCI in December announced the divestiture of its 50% stake in Fertiglobe to ADNOC, and the sale of its Iowa Fertilizer Company to Koch Industries, bringing in $6.2bn in total net proceeds.

However, OCI has received additional inbound inquiries from potential acquirers for the remaining business, leading it to re-open the review, CEO Ahmed El-Hoshy said last month on OCI’s 4Q23 earnings call.

“As such, OCI is exploring further value creative strategic actions across the portfolio, including the previously announced equity participation in its Texas blue clean ammonia project,” he said, adding: “All options are on the table.”

The comments echoed the remarks of Nassef Sawiris, a 40% shareholder of OCI, who recently told the Financial Times that OCI could sell off most of its assets and become a shell for acquisitions.

In the earnings presentation, El-Hoshy took time to lay out the remaining pieces of the business: in particular, OCI’s 350 ktpa ammonia facility in Beaumont; OCI Methanol Group, encompassing 2 million tons of production capacity in the US and a shuttered Dutch methanol plant; and its European ammonia/nitrogen assets.

Texas blue

The Texas blue ammonia project is a 1.1 million-tons-per-year facility that OCI touts as the only greenfield blue ammonia project to reach FID to date. The company has invested $500m in the project as of February 24, out of a total $1bn expected investment, according to a presentation.

“Commercial discussions for long-term product offtake and equity investments in the project are at advanced stages with multiple parties,” El-Hoshy said. “This reflects the very strong commercial interest and increasing appetite from the strategics to pay a price premium to secure long-term low-carbon ammonia.”

El-Hoshy’s comments highlight the fact that, unlike most projects in development, OCI took FID on the Texas blue facility without an offtake agreement in place. The executive did, however, highlight the first-mover cost advantages from breaking ground on the project early and avoiding construction cost inflation.

Additionally, the project was designed to accommodate a second 1.1 mtpa blue ammonia production line, which would be easier to build given existing utilities and infrastructure, El-Hoshy said, allowing for an opportunity to capitalize on additional clean ammonia demand at low development costs.

“Line 2 probably has the biggest advantage, we think, in North America in terms of building a plant where a lot of the existing outside the battery limits items and utilities are already in place,” he said, emphasizing that by moving early on the first phase, they avoided some of the inflationary EPC pressures of recent years. 

At the facility OCI will buy clean hydrogen and nitrogen over the fence from Linde, and Linde, in turn, will capture and sequester CO2 via an agreement with ExxonMobil.

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SK invests in World Energy GH2 green hydrogen project

South Korea’s SK ecoplant has agreed to make an initial investment of $50m to acquire a 20% stake in the first phase of World Energy GH2’s green hydrogen project in Atlantic Canada.

World Energy GH2 has signed an investment agreement with SK ecoplant, the environment and energy arm of SK Group, one of the world’s largest sustainable infrastructure companies. SK Group operates more than 200 companies across the energy, life sciences, advanced materials, mobility, and semiconductor industries.

The agreement signifies the first overseas investment in a Canadian green hydrogen project. SK ecoplant is initially investing $50m in Project Nujio’qonik, acquiring a 20 per cent stake in the first phase of the project. This investment is SK ecoplant’s first investment in a wind-to-green hydrogen project globally, and is a clear indicator that Newfoundland and Labrador is rapidly taking centre stage in the clean energy industry.

John Risley, chairman, World Energy GH2, commented that the investment is validation that World Energy GH2 has all of the requirements for a successful project.

“Just nine months after the signing of the Canada – Germany Hydrogen Alliance by Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and German Chancellor Scholz in Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador, trade and export discussions continue to advance between Canada and Germany. This investment from SK ecoplant reflects confidence in the alliance, and also reflects the speed at which this new critical industry is moving.”

“Canada is creating a financial climate that is attracting investments of scale,” said Risley. “Our country’s robust response to the US Inflation Reduction Act, including the Canada Growth Fund, Investment Tax Credits and Contracts for Difference, are innovative ways Canada is implementing to stand up an industry that can compete globally.”

Sean Leet, Managing Director and CEO, World Energy GH2, commented further: “This is an international company that can do business anywhere in the world,” said Leet. “Not only did they choose Canada, they chose our home, Newfoundland and Labrador, and they chose Project Nujio’qonik. SK ecoplant recognizes the benefits, advancement, and sophistication of this project, and we look forward to a prosperous partnership.”

“We are incredibly proud of all of our stakeholders, including our First Nations and community partners, who have been instrumental in attracting SK ecoplant’s investment in our project,” said Leet. “We welcome our new investment partners to Project Nujio’qonik, and we look forward to developing a world-class green energy project together.”

SK ecoplant will continue to be an important partner in this project, thanks to its expertise in green hydrogen and engineering excellence. The company has already completed a green hydrogen value chain that includes renewable energy sources such as wind power and electrolysis. SK ecoplant has established itself as a leading company in wind power generation, evidenced by its ongoing development of a 2.6 GW offshore wind power project. Its subsidiary, SK oceanplant, is a globally recognized top-tier company specializing in substructures for offshore wind power installation. Last month, Kyung-il Park, CEO, SK ecoplant, assumed the role of Chairman of the Korea Wind Energy Industry Association.

Kyung-il Park, CEO, SK ecoplant, says the investment in Project Nujio’qonik is a step toward launching the international green hydrogen industry.

“Newfoundland and Labrador is positioned to launch this industry in Canada and to be amongst the very few first-mover commercial producers of scale world-wide,” said Kyung-il Park, CEO, SK ecoplant. “Project Nujio’qonik has world-class wind, abundant fresh water, a deep-sea port with close proximity to Europe, strong First Nations and community support, and support at all levels of government. Our investment in this project is a step toward producing first green hydrogen and ammonia in 2025 and taking a leadership position in the fight against climate change.”

“As the first Korean company to participate in an intercontinental green hydrogen commercialization project, we have a competitive advantage and see more future business opportunities,” said Kyung-il Park. “SK ecoplant’s rapid execution ability and extensive experience will help us become a prominent leader in the global green hydrogen and green ammonia market in the future.”

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Developer taps ING to raise project finance for Texas H2 plant

Clean Energy Holdings is assembling a roster of advisors to advance its Clear Fork green hydrogen project.

ING Americas will take the lead in securing project financing for Clean Energy Holding’s 250 MW Clear Fork, Texas renewable energy supplied green hydrogen and liquefaction project.

The project has a baseline schedule slated to enter commercial operations in the third quarter of 2024. The project is expected to produce a levelized average of 30,000 kg a day of liquefied green hydrogen. The CEH Platform is designed to attract leading edge and emerging technologies to integrate into our projects for validation and certification.

CEH is assembling a Renewable Energy and Technology Alliance, which now includes Equix Inc., a well-established and highly respected infrastructure firm. Bair Energy, LLC (BE) joins The Alliance as the Program Management Construction Management (PMCM) and serves as The Alliance Representative for the CEH Platform. The Alliance is working with an experienced commodities group to market and lead offtake negotiations for its projects.

CEO of Clean Energy Holdings, Nicholas Bair, stated: “Our Alliance is leading energy transformation, and we are committed to continue to lead the North American market in the production and implementation of green hydrogen for industrial, chemical, and mobility applications. We are also driving technological advancements developed through our projects. We have assembled a group of industry leaders as well as local and state governments to navigate through the potential challenges as we deliver our projects from concept to delivery and provide turnkey projects with a complete basis for design. Our Alliance delivers on contract and safety, with guaranties. This project is a strategic priority for The Alliance to showcase its turnkey design, long term operations and production guaranties.”

CEH President, Cornelius Fitzgerald, added, “These early, large-scale, projects will help define the green hydrogen industry in North America. Our Alliance partners and advisors have been carefully selected as both best-in-class for their respective roles and dedication to make these projects a success.”

Chair of Bair Energy, Candice McGuire stated, “flawless project delivery is the focus of the CEH Platform and The Alliance to lead the nation in energy security.”

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European Union gives 213m to Faurecia for clean mobility

Faurecia will develop lightweight carbon fiber gaseous hydrogen tanks as well as a tank to store hydrogen in cryogenic form.

Faurecia, a subsidiary of the French FORVIA Group, will receive EUR 213m from to develop lightweight carbon fiber gaseous hydrogen tanks as well as a tank to store hydrogen in cryogenic form, according to a news release.

The money is dedicated to Faurecia’s Historhy Next project. Faurecia’s plant in Allenjoie will produce over 100.000 tanks per year, start of production will be in 2024.

In addition, fuel cell supplier Symbio, a joint venture between Faurecia and Michelin, is also among the 10 projects supported by the French government in IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest), which has dedicated EUR 2.1bn to support the hydrogen industry in France.

A large-scale transformation project, Hymotive will accelerate the mass production of its latest-generation fuel cell systems in Saint-Fons.

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exclusive

Hydrogen technology firm hires advisor for capital raise

A firm with a technology to produce green hydrogen from sunlight without electrolysis is prepping a capital raise.

BoMax Hydrogen, a Florida-based hydrogen technology firm, is preparing to launch a capital raise later this month, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Boutique advisory firm Taylor DeJongh has been retained to run the process, the sources said. Teasers will likely go out in two weeks.

BoMax is seeking to raise around $15m in a Series A round, the sources added.

The company touts e a novel technology making hydrogen from visible light without the need for solar electrolysis, according to a pre-teaser marketing document seen by ReSource. An alpha prototype has been awarded by the US Department of Energy.

The technology, which does not require rare earth minerals, produces hydrogen at point of need and has been reviewed by scientists at Utah State University.

To date the company has raised about $5m, one of the sources said. That came mostly from friends and family and one Japanese investor.

Funds from the Series A will be used to make a beta prototype, scale operations at the company’s labs in Orlando and prepare for commercial production.

BoMax and Taylor DeJonghe did not respond to requests for comment.

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Exclusive: Additional details revealed on e-fuels equity raise

A US e-fuels developer is in the midst of a Series C raise with BofA Securities advising.

E-fuels developer Infinium is raising $300m in a Series C capital raise that launched last year, according to a source familiar with the matter.

BofA Securities has been engaged to advise on the process, as previously reported by ReSource. The amount of the capital raise was not previously reported.

Infinium and BofA did not respond to requests for comment. 

Infinium recently announced the existence of Project Roadrunner, located in West Texas, which will convert an existing brownfield gas-to-liquids project into an e-fuels facility delivering products to both US and international markets. Breakthrough Energy Catalyst has contributed $75m in project equity.

Infinium, which launched in 2020, closed a $69m Series B in 2021, with Amazon, NextEra and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries participating. Its Project Pathfinder in Corpus Christi is fully capitalized.

About a dozen projects, split roughly 50/50 between North America and the rest of the world, are in development now. The company is always scouting new projects and is looking for partners to provide CO2, develop power generation and offtake end products, an executive said previously.

A CO2 feedstock agreement for a US Midwest project with BlackRock-backed Navigator CO2 Ventures was recently scrapped after the latter developer cancelled its CO2 pipeline project.

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Exclusive: E-fuels developer raising $500m

A developer of green hydrogen for e-fuel products is looking for a more diverse set of backers for a recently launched Series C capital raise.

Ineratec, the German power-to-liquid fuels developer and technology provider, has launched a $500m Series C and could take on a US-based financial advisor to help, CEO Tim Boeltken said in an interview.

German boutique Pava Partners helped Ineratec on its $129m Series B, which was led by Piva Capital. The Series B raise, which was announced in January, also included participation from HG Ventures, TDK Ventures, Copec WIND Ventures, RockCreek, Emerald, Samsung Ventures as well as the increased support from current investors, including global corporates like ENGIE New Ventures, Safran Corporate Ventures and Honda.

The Series C can include equity, debt and project finance, Boeltken said.

The company, which takes a modular approach to fuels production, serves customers in Switzerland, Spain and Finland. Its e-fuels process involves two main steps: first, turning CO2 and hydrogen into synthesis gas, then using a second reactor to turn the synthesis gas into liquid and solid hydrocarbons, according to its website.

Growth in the US would include eventual rollout of its 100 MW commercial unit, none of which have been built to date. Now the company is focused on its 10 MW commercial units, following completion of a 1 MW industrial plant operating now.

In the next month Ineratec will be scouting locations in the US, Boeltken said, adding the the company is “hoping for many, many US installations” with eyes on additional applications in South America and Japan. The company also intends to establish a US headquarters.

Sites in New York and California are of first interest but there are also growth intentions in Texas, Washington state and Appalachia.

Ineratec is currently raising project finance for a “triple-digit” million capex project in the Europe, he said.

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