Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals and minerals 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 1 (1978-1979)
Foster, Russell J.
Nitrogen, pp. 643-653 ff. PDF (1.4 MB)
643Nitrogen By Russell J. Foster1 Domestic ammonia production declined in 1978, but recovered to a record level in 1979. Consumption of ammonia in the United States continued upward, eclipsing previous peaks in both 1978 and 1979. Exports of ammonia and total nitrogen in compounds increased both years. Although total nitrogen-containing imports leveled off, the quantity of imported ammonia continued to rise. Industry overcapacity and rising costs, as well as low-priced imports, have confronted U.S. ammonia producers. Legislation and Government Programs.—In July 1979, 12 U.S. producers and 1 distributor of ammonia petitioned the U.S. International Trade Commission for relief from Soviet imports under section 406 of the Trade Act of 1974. On October 11 the Commission reported to the President that market disruption did exist, and recommended a 3-year quota on U.S. imports of ammonia from the U.S.S.R. of 1.0 million tons in 1980, 1.1 million tons in 1981, and 1.3 million tons in 1982. However, on December 11, the President rejected the finding and recommendation.2 The Department of Energy approved the suggestion of W. R. Grace & Co. to change its proposed ammonia-from-coal plant at Henderson, Ky., to a commercial-size facili ty for the coal-based production of gasoline via methanol.~ The Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 was enacted in October 1978. The measure, effective December 1, 1978, contains a decontrol provision based on a system of incremental price increases until 1985, when price controls on much of the natural gas will be lifted. The act assures that essential agricultural users of natural gas will receive priority second only to residential, school, and hospital use, in the event of curtailments.~ In March 1978 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruled that natural gas from Federal offshore sources must be offered to the interstate market and could not be reserved for the producer or specific customers.5 In June 1979 FERC announced that approval for First Mississippi Corp. and its partners to use Federal offshore natural gas for their joint-venture ammonia plant at Donaldsonville, La., would be contingent on the companies' agreeing to offer natural gas from other sources to the interstate pipelines that will transport the gas to the plant.6 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established effluent limitations guidelines for ammonia and ammonium Table 1.—Salient ammonia statistics (Thousand short tons of contained nitrogen) 1975 1976 1977 1978 1W19" United States: Production1 Exports r13,609 289 r13856 361 14,712 346 14,232 434 14,932 649 Importsforconsumption Consumption2 world: Production 662 r13,223 eM 600 599 r13,939 62,600 884 14,831 68,500 1,247 15,270 72,800 1,603 16,178 77,200 e~timate 5Preliminary. ~ ' Synthetic anhydrous ammonia and coke oven ammonia. 2lncludes producers' stock change in synthetic anhydrous ammonia and coke oven ammonia.
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