ENERGY Minister Stuart Young said yesterday that higher global ammonia prices should result in more revenue for the Government in the current fiscal year.
Young was reacting to recent news that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has contributed to higher prices for all kinds of fertilisers, including those that are based on ammonia.
T&T has ten operational ammonia plants, including two ammonia complexes on the Point Lisas Industrial Estate, with a total annual nameplate capacity of about five million metric tonnes. Most of the ammonia produced at the Point Lisas Industrial Estate is exported.
The global market for fertilisers has been in turmoil recently as a result of higher global prices for natural gas, which is used to make ammonia.
The war in Eastern Europe has pushed fertiliser prices even higher as Russia is a major exporter of potash-, phosphate- and nitrogen-based fertilisers. According to the International Food Policy Research Institute, Russia accounts for 15 per cent of global trade in nitrogenous fertilisers, 17 per cent of global potash fertiliser exports and 20 per cent of the global natural gas trade, a key component in manufacturing fertilisers.
Earlier this month, Russia announced that it would temporarily halt exports of fertilisers.
Responding to a question about the impact of higher ammonia prices on the Government’s revenue, Young said: “The current geopolitical landscape has led to serious global concerns about food supply including food supply that depends on fertilisers. The rising cost of critical agricultural products is a global concern.
“I have been saying repeatedly that global ammonia prices have been high for the past three quarters and this should be reflected in an increase in revenue from petrochemicals in Trinidad and Tobago. But we wait to see in the revenue collection for 2022 (provided prices remain high).”
Young also expressed concern about the investigation by the US trade authorities into the possibility that Urea Ammonium Nitrate (UAN) produced at Point Lisas could be subsidised.
Young denied that UAN, which is produced by the Proman group of companies at Point Lisas, is being subsidised.
“This matter is of concern as there is certainly no subsidy being provided by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago with respect to the natural gas feedstock.
“MHTL has legal representation in the US who are dealing with this matter on their part and the Government will certainly assist, as we have been doing, with the provision of accurate information that reflects the reality of the situation that is that there is no subsidy on gas etc.”
Yesterday, the Sunday Express reported exclusively that a bipartisan group of US congressmen and senators is calling on the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to suspend the imposition of new duties on UAN from T&T.
The ITC produced a preliminary ruling seven months ago that UAN produced by that both Russia and T&T, was being dumped in the US, affecting that country’s producers of the commodity.
In a statement to the Sunday Express yesterday, Proman said:
“We are aware of the recent letter led by representatives Axne, Mann and Senator Moran to the US International Trade Commission (ITC) regarding duties on fertiliser products imported to the United States.
“As the letter notes, fertilisers play a critical role in global agricultural production and food security. We are continuing to co-operate fully with the US Department of Commerce and the US International Trade Commission regarding the ongoing anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations on imports of urea ammonium nitrate solutions (UAN) from Trinidad and Tobago.
“We are monitoring all developments and keeping our stakeholders in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries and other key partners in Trinidad and Tobago closely informed. Given the ongoing nature of these proceedings, it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”