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Strike Energy pivots to urea production as global fertiliser prices at all time high

Thu 19 May 22, 11:15am (AEST)
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Key Points

  • Strike Energy has minted a non binding offtake term sheet with Koch Fertilizer LLC based in Kansas
  • Koch Fertilizer is one of the world’s largest fertilizer manufacturing and marketing firms
  • Offtake agreement will evolve into a legally binding contract upon FID of Strike’s fertiliser project

Strike Energy (ASX:STX) has moved towards offtake for 100% of its 1.4Mtpa ganunlar ammonia (urea) fertiliser project with US based Koch Fertilizer LLC, one of the world's largest fertiliser companies. 

The offtake agreement is enacted within a non-binding term sheet, which means further volatility of international fertiliser prices could see Koch Fertilizer pull out of the deal, though Koch has agreed to an initial term sheet intended to cover a 15 year period. 

The product will be manufactured from Strike Energy's proposed Project Haber development; intended to be a low-emissions urea development located in the WA wheatbelt. 

Strike Energy will use natural gas from its gas drilling operations to produce ammonia; LNG is a feedstock in the production of fertilisers and the record highs fertilisers are currently trading at is indicative of higher energy costs. 

(Source: Bloomberg) A chart from March reveals the shape of charts for US Ammonia prices
(Source: Bloomberg) A chart from March reveals the shape of charts for US Ammonia prices

World fertiliser prices at all-time-highs

Axios reports fertiliser prices in January 2022 were up 125% year on year; other trading houses predict the price of fertiliser will remain high into 2024. While this is good news for traders, analysts for Axios are concerned the high prices could help fuel an international food crisis. 

Currently, the price of wheat and corn are also at record highs.

Bloomberg reported late last year the price of livestock manure has increased as agriculturalists seek lower-cost alternatives to synthetic fertilisers. The high price of fertilisers has also been tied to increased pressure on the profit margins of farmers. 

Whether or not Strike Energy can begin producing its 1.4Mtpa quota within this window of upside remains to be seen, though, the longevity of the deal indicates clear interest from Koch Fertilizer. 

The two companies are now to negotiate and draft a full form definitive offtake agreement intended to make binding a ten-to-fifteen year offtake arrangement with pricing linked to international benchmarks. 

It all comes down to FID 

Of course, the outcome of that process hinges on the Final Investment Decision of Strike Energy's Project Haber. 

The move from energy into fertiliser is not particularly unusual; Leigh Creek Energy, after changing its name to Neurizer (ASX:NRZ) last year, re-branded as a fertiliser company on the back of its South Australian operations. 

Strike Energy management believes the offtake agreement, which comes during a window of historically high fertiliser prices, will also boost company valuation. 

"Securing Koch Fertilizer as Strike's sole offtaker would give Project Haber a high degree of creditworthiness," managing director Stuart Nicholls said. 

"With global urea prices at all-time highs, the timing for this development in Australia is now." 

While Project Haber is intended to provide cheaper supply into the Australian market, it is unclear if Koch Industries, based in Kansas, will be legally obliged to redirect any quantity into the domestic market per a proposed binding term sheet.

Strike Energy's three month chart versus the energy index (XEJ)
Strike Energy's three month chart versus the energy index (XEJ)

 

Written By

Jonathon Davidson

Finance Writer

Jonathon is a journalism graduate and avid market watcher with exposure to governance, NGO and mining environments. He was most recently hired as an oil and gas specialist for a trade publication. Email Jon at [email protected].

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