November 6, 2018 / 4:12 PM / 8 days ago

UPDATE 1-Nutrien looks to expand nitrogen plants as price climbs

(Adds CEO quote, price details)

By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Nutrien Ltd, the world's biggest fertilizer producer by capacity, is looking at expanding several nitrogen fertilizer plants in North America due to rising prices, Chief Executive Chuck Magro said on Tuesday.

Nitrogen prices have climbed amid China's shutdown of coal-fired plants and rising European costs of natural gas, a key ingredient in fertilizer production, which have curbed capacity outside North America.

"Nutrien is looking at several brownfields in our network, primarily in North America, but it’s too early to talk specifically about that," Magro said on a quarterly conference call, using the industry term for expanding existing plants.

Magro said prices are not high enough to justify building new plants.

Nitrogen is the most widely used fertilizer, used to accelerate growth of crops such as corn. Prices look to remain high around $300 per tonne at New Orleans through early 2019, RBC analyst Andrew Wong said in a note on Monday. (Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Tom Brown)

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