Low-carbon ammonia in Baytown, Texas

Exxon Mobil’s plans evolve

In March 2022, Exxon announced a new CCS hydrogen plant would be built alongside its existing chemicals & refinery complex in Baytown, Texas. The new plant’s capacity will be about two-thirds of the current, fossil-based hydrogen production capacity at Baytown. CCS hydrogen feedstock would then be directed to an olefins production plant.

Click to learn more about Exxon and SK’s new ammonia collaboration.
Click to learn more about Exxon and SK’s new ammonia collaboration.

In January this year, a FEED contract was awarded to Technip Energies for development of this new CCS plant. But the announcement also indicated that the facility would produce low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia. Operations will begin in 2027-8, allowing Exxon to “offer significant volumes of low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia to third party customers in support of their decarbonization efforts.”

SK comes on board

This week, Exxon and SK Inc. Materials announced a new blue ammonia collaboration. SK will act as off taker for CCS ammonia produced in Baytown, importing it to Korea for use in coal co-combustion.

The window for blue ammonia offtake will coincide with South Korea’s Ammonia Co-firing initiative, and SK has plans to introduce blue ammonia solutions to further support the Clean Energy transition. The company commented, “Blue ammonia will replace conventional coal as a main fuel and accelerate energy transition with less carbon footprint and cleaner power.”

From SK Inc. Material’s official press release, 22 Feb 2023

Starting with Blue Ammonia collaboration, we look forward to working with ExxonMobil and expand the partnership into other lower carbon value chains. This partnership marks an important milestone in the introduction of blue ammonia that has higher economic and environmental value, and in establishing a reliable supply chain, connecting suppliers and customers with common goals for cleaner energy.

CEO of SK Inc. Materials Young-Wook Lee in his organisation’s official press release, 22 Feb 2023

Exxon’s ammonia plans have built steadily over the last twelve months. In July 2022, it announced it will convert its existing refinery & export terminal in Slagen, Norway to an electrolytic hydrogen hub. That announcement also detailed that Exxon was planning two major ammonia production hubs: one in the UK, and one in the US (presumably the Baytown project). In October last year, CF Industries then announced that Exxon would act as the CCS partner for the Donaldsonville project. It should also be noted that Exxon owns and operates one of the world’s largest integrated petrochemical & refinery complexes on Jurong Island: a location with growing significance in the ammonia energy space.

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