Cronus Fertilizers has executed a lump-sum turnkey contract with thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions (TKIS) for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of its Tuscola, fertilizer plant, according to an announcement from Cronus Monday afternoon.
“The contract is a critical step forward for the project and will provide Cronus with a highly experienced partner for the project’s execution,” the press release stated.
Cronus’ contract with TKIS, one of the world’s leading fertilizer plant technology and construction companies, is the result of an extensive review process between the two companies that began in 2017. The Cronus team is continuing work on the project and the facility is on track for groundbreaking in the second quarter of 2019.
“This is a big milestone,” Tuscola economic development coordinator Brian Moody said Monday. “We’re glad we’ve made it to this point, and they have a deal in place.”
Moody said he was not clear on all details of the contract, but said he was a bit surprised to learn that construction will be increased from a 37-month window to 45 months.
“At the end of the day, to me, looking at the financial impact for the community, I see that as a positive thing, because more people will be on site for a longer amount of time,” he said.
Over the next month, Moody anticipates several meetings with the involved parties to lay out what the companies will need from his office and community resources moving forward. The next major milestone for Cronus will be the financial closing.
“Now that they have the contract in place Cronus can go back to their financiers with that information,” he said.
The contract calls for six to nine months for the financial closing to take place.
“TKIS is who Cronus hoped would take on the project from the beginning,” Moody said. “We’ve met with them several times, and they were good people to work with. They are reputable in this field and have experience building fertilizer plants.”
The plant site, which was publically announced four years ago this month, will be located west of Tuscola near the intersection of Route 36 and what is commonly known as Hog Market Road.
“We are proud to reach this important milestone in realizing our vision for a state-of-the-art fertilizer facility that will provide major benefits for the entire region,” said Erzin Atac, CEO of Cronus Chemicals. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with TKIS and community leaders as the project moves toward construction.”
“I am thrilled with the continuing progress of the Cronus project. Bringing thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions to the table as their EPC contractor is a significant step forward in this process,” said State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet). “thyssenkrupp has considerable expertise both in the U.S., and internationally, in large-scale construction – especially for this type of facility. I realize there are still steps to cover before this project is completed, but, certainly, a company of the character, competency, and integrity of thyssenkrupp signing on to the Cronus project is welcome news for Central Illinois.”
With the capacity to produce 2,300 metric tons of ammonia per day, the Cronus plant will be a major new source of fertilizer for farmers throughout Illinois and the Midwest. The plant’s strategic location will allow area farmers to access locally produced ammonia that will primarily replace the need for imported products.
“thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions is honored Cronus Chemicals has selected us as the designated EPC Contractor for their planned 2,300 tons per day ammonia plant project in Illinois,” said Dennis Lippmann, CEO thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, North America. “We look forward to continuing our partnership and supporting Cronus during the next phase of this exciting project. Our successful track record in ammonia plant technology and undisputed expertise in engineering, procurement and construction qualifies us for this large-scale project, which will move forward once the financing is completed.”
In addition to providing a major new source of fertilizer for farmers in the region, the project is expected to provide a significant boost to the economy in the form of construction jobs, long-term positions and spending activity.