Texas City could soon be home to an $800 million ammonia plant.
City commissioners Wednesday will consider approving three separate agreements that would allow for Gulf Coast Ammonia to begin developing a plant at the Eastman Chemical Co. site, 201 Bay St. S., Mayor Matt Doyle said.
Gulf Coast Ammonia was formed in a partnership between Miami-based Agrifos and Borealis AG, Europe’s second-largest producer of polyethylene and polypropylene.
In forming Gulf Coast Ammonia, the two groups announced in May 2015 plans to build an ammonia plant along the Texas coast.
“The deal has probably been in the works for two years,” said Nick Finan, Texas City director of management services. “Maybe a little bit longer.”
Representatives for Gulf Coast Ammonia did not respond to requests for comment Monday.
Texas City’s agreement with Gulf Coast Ammonia begins with $450 million in development, but includes language for $800 million or more in development at the Eastman facility in Texas City, Finan said.
“They signed an agreement with Eastman for leasing space within the facility and will construct a dock in conjunction with this,” Finan said.
Representatives with Eastman Chemical Company did not respond to requests for comment Monday.
Commissioners Wednesday will consider a 10-year tax abatement agreement with Gulf Coast Ammonia that would also include a stipulation that the company pay the city a lump sum of money during each of those years, Finan said.
Those payments each year could range between $750,000 and $1 million depending on the value of development, Finan said.
Gulf Coast Ammonia officials didn’t specify how many jobs would be created by the facility, but it could range between 25 and 50 full-time positions, Finan said.
“It’s a nice deal,” Doyle said. “We are looking forward to moving that forward.”
The dock and facility are scheduled to be complete and open for business sometime in 2020, with construction starting sometime in 2018, Finan said.
Once completed, the facility would produce about 1.35 million metric tons a year of ammonia, according to documents released to The Daily News.
Ammonia plants have come under increasing scrutiny as of late following well-documented explosions, including the one that rocked West, Texas in 2013. Officials in Crosby following Hurricane Harvey were concerned about potential explosions when an Arkema ammonia plant was damaged.
The proposed Gulf Coast Ammonia plant would produce products for the chemical industry, making it different from other plants, Doyle said.
“This is not to be confused with ammonium nitrate,” Finan said. “Ammonia nitrate is very combustible. We don’t want to alarm people, because with the 1947 Texas City explosion, they were hauling ammonium nitrate. As with most chemical processes, I won’t say there is no danger or hazard, but it’s not as serious as ammonium nitrate.”
The West fertilizer explosion was producing ammonium nitrate.