Industrial gases group Linde is set to invest $1.8bn in a blue ammonia plant under construction in Texas which is slated to become the state’s biggest facility of its kind.
Linde will build, own and operate a plant that will pipe clean hydrogen and nitrogen to Dutch company OCI’s 1.1 million tonne-per-year blue ammonia plant in the city of Beaumont.
The blue hydrogen plant will also be integrated into Linde’s “extensive” gulf coast gas infrastructure, according to the company’s press release published on February 6.
In its accompanying press release, OCI said its own investment costs related to Linde’s project are expected to be below $1bn.
The production of blue ammonia, made with so-called clean hydrogen and nitrogen, produces fewer harmful emissions than standard ammonia and is vital for agriculture’s green transition.
Linde will also use the complex to help provide clean hydrogen and rare gases to other customers along that section of coast, addressing what it called an “increasing demand” from companies to decarbonise.
“Our strategy is to support decarbonisation by working with off-takers, like OCI, to safely and reliably supply low-carbon industrial gases at scale,” stated Linde CEO Sanjiv Lamba.
US funds Central America to stem migration
Kamala Harris, the US vice president, has announced $956m worth of new private-sector pledges towards her Call to Action for Northern Central America campaign, which is designed to improve the region’s development in the hope of stemming migration to the US.
The new pledges include a $350m commitment from telecommunications firm Millicom to expand its mobile and broadband networks in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador by 2025, the White House said in a February 6 statement. US retailer Target also promised to increase its spending by $300m in the same three countries over the coming decade.
The investments are gathered together under a public–private partnership between the government and some 47 private firms, which Ms Harris launched in 2021 when tasked by president Joe Biden to manage migration. To-date, more than $4.2bn has been pledged under the campaign.
“Governments must collaborate to manage migration,” Ms Harris said at the campaign’s launch, “and that means through bilateral, trilateral, multilateral relationships and dialogue. But also, what we must do to address the issue requires that we partner with the private sector if we are to have lasting impact.”
Panama flings open the gates
The country’s cabinet has authorised the establishment of three new free zones via an investment worth $78.7m, which it hopes will attract the likes of Hyundai and Netflix to the country.
In a February 7 press release, the government announced the Tech Valley Free Zone and Panama Digital Gateway, which will together house a total 740 companies.
The government’s strategy is to turn Panama into central America’s digital hub, it says, and to that end has welcomed the Google-owned Curie submarine cable that connects the country to the US.
Panama’s Colon Free Zone is the largest free zone in the Western Hemisphere.
Free zones are valuable for the Panamanian economy. Last year exports worth $143m passed through Panama’s existing free zones, which is almost double the figure for 2018.