02/25/2014 11:07 EST | Updated 04/27/2014 05:59 EDT

Agrium plans US$720M expansion to nitrogen plant in Borger, Texas

CALGARY - Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) says it's going ahead with a US$720-million plan to expand its nitrogen plant in Borger, Texas.

The Calgary-based fertilizer giant announced Tuesday its board of directors has approved the project, which will add a new urea production unit of about 610,000 tonnes.

Of that, about 100,000 tonnes will be fuel-grade urea, which can be used to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions in vehicles.

The expansion will also increase annual ammonia capacity by 145,000 tonnes to about 635,000 tonnes.

Construction is set to begin next month and is expected to wrap up in the second half of 2015.

In addition to nitrogen, Agrium also produces and sells potash and phosphates.

"Agrium is one of the largest and lowest cost producers of nitrogen in the world. The upgrade and expansion at the Borger facility will continue to grow our nitrogen footprint in this important agricultural region while providing a strong return on investment. The project will ensure the facility's future longevity, while using the latest in environmental control technology," said CEO Chuck Magro.

"The expansion project will also provide greater flexibility to meet changes in demand by product and region and reduce our reliance on existing ammonia distribution channels."