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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals and minerals 1977
Year 1977, Volume 1 (1977)

Foster, Russell J.
Nitrogen,   pp. 673-684 PDF (1.4 MB)


Page 673

  673Nitrogen 
By Russell J. Foster1 
 Production of fixed nitrogen, that is ammonia, in the United States rose
5% in 1977 to 14.6 million tons of contained nitrogen. Ammonia exports declined
4%, but total exports of all nitrogen compounds increased 6%. Imports of
ammonia were up 48%, paralleling the 45% rise for all nitrogencontaining
products. Domestic consumption of ammonia, including net imports of 538,000
tons of nitrogen content, was up 5%. Elemental nitrogen production reached
12 million tons, up 15% from the previous year. Consumption was assumed equal
to production. 
 Legislation and Government Programs.—The Energy Research and Development
Administration signed an agreement with W. R. Grace & Co. for a program
to develop the commercial synthesis of ammonia from coal. The company selected
the Texaco, Inc., coal gasification process for production of synthesis gas
as part of the initial design and engineering phase of the project. Subsequent
phases would include construction and operation of the plant in western Kentucky
by 1982.2 
 The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced plans to construct a small
demonstration gasifier, also based on Texaco technology, to produce synthesis
gas as part of the raw material for its 225-ton-per-day ammonia plant currently
fed by natural 
gas. The project may demonstrate the feasibility of retrofitting existing
ammQnia plants to use coal.3 TVA awarded a contract to Air Products &
Chemicals, Inc., for design and construction of an air separation unit for
the coal gasification plant.4 
 The Federal Power Commission (FPC) placed restrictions on the dedication
of specific portions of natural gas reserves by producers to ammonia and
other chemical industry consumers.5 The FPC also ruled that users of natural
gas from Federal offshore areas for production of ammonia and other chemicals
can be charged above the ceiling price set by the FPC when the gas is used
as a feedstock rather than a fuel.~ 
 The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of soft drink bottles
made from acrylonitrile. The FDA claimed that the bottles were unsafe because
unreacted acrylonitrile monomer can leach into the contents under the agency's
extraction test conditions.~ 
* The Environmental Protection Agency temporarily revoked pH limitations
for all effluent discharges of nitric acid so that the issue of total compliance
within a fixed range of pH could be reconsidered.~ 
 At yearend the outcome of comprehensive energy legislation, including the
issue of natural gas price regulation, continued unresolved.~ 
Table 1.—Salient ammonia statistics 
(Thousandshort tons of contained nitrogen) 
1973 
1974 
1975 
1976 
l9l?~ 
United States: 
 Production 1                                       
 Exports                                          
 Importsforconsumption                              
 Consumption2                                    world:Pmduction5       
12,641 
 741 
 271 
12,778 
51,500 
13,061 
 326 
 373 
12,877 
53,400 
13,617 
 289 
 662 
13,229 
54,600 
13,863 
 361 
 599 
13,946 
65,000 
14,566 
 346 
 884 
14,685 
68,500 
 e~timate ~Pre1iminary. 
 ' Synthetic anhydrous ammonia and coke oven ammonia. 
 2lncludes producers' stock change in synthetic anhydrous ammonia and coke
oven ammonia. 


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