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Table of Contents

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, DC 20549
FORM 10-K
(Mark One) 
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from                               to                                          
Commission file number 001-32597
CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware20-2697511
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
   
2375 Waterview Drive60062
Northbrook, Illinois
(Zip Code)
(Address of principal executive offices)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (847) 405-2400

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
common stock, par value $0.01 per shareCFNew York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes No
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
 
Accelerated filerNon-accelerated filer Smaller reporting company Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to § 240.10D-1(b) 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes No
The aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates as of June 30, 2023 (the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter), computed by reference to the closing sale price of the registrant’s common stock, was $13,335,083,067.
188,337,896 shares of the registrant’s common stock, par value $0.01 per share, were outstanding as of January 31, 2024.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement for its 2024 annual meeting of shareholders (Proxy Statement) are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The Proxy Statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, pursuant to Regulation 14A, not later than 120 days after the end of the 2023 fiscal year, or, if the registrant does not file the Proxy Statement within such 120-day period, the registrant will amend this Annual Report on Form 10-K to include the information required under Part III of Form 10-K not later than the end of such 120-day period.



CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
   
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
   



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CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.


PART I
ITEM 1.    BUSINESS.
Our Company
All references to “CF Holdings,” “we,” “us,” “our” and “the Company,” refer to CF Industries Holdings, Inc. and its subsidiaries, except where the context makes clear that the reference is to CF Industries Holdings, Inc. only and not its subsidiaries. All references to “CF Industries” refer to CF Industries, Inc., a 100% owned subsidiary of CF Industries Holdings, Inc. References to tons refer to short tons and references to tonnes refer to metric tons. Notes referenced throughout this document refer to consolidated financial statement note disclosures that are found in Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data—Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Our mission is to provide clean energy to feed and fuel the world sustainably. With our employees focused on safe and reliable operations, environmental stewardship, and disciplined capital and corporate management, we are on a path to decarbonize our ammonia production network – the world’s largest – to enable green and low-carbon hydrogen and nitrogen products for energy, fertilizer, emissions abatement and other industrial activities. Our nitrogen manufacturing complexes in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, an extensive storage, transportation and distribution network in North America, and logistics capabilities enabling a global reach underpin our strategy to leverage our unique capabilities to accelerate the world’s transition to clean energy. Our principal customers are cooperatives, independent fertilizer distributors, traders, wholesalers and industrial users. Our core product is anhydrous ammonia (ammonia), which contains 82% nitrogen and 18% hydrogen. Our nitrogen products that are upgraded from ammonia are granular urea, urea ammonium nitrate solution (UAN) and ammonium nitrate (AN). Our other nitrogen products include diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), urea liquor, nitric acid and aqua ammonia, which are sold primarily to our industrial customers.
Our principal assets as of December 31, 2023 include:
six U.S. nitrogen manufacturing facilities, located in Donaldsonville, Louisiana (the largest nitrogen complex in the world); Sergeant Bluff, Iowa (our Port Neal complex); Yazoo City, Mississippi; Claremore, Oklahoma (our Verdigris complex); Woodward, Oklahoma; and Waggaman, Louisiana. The Waggaman facility is wholly owned by us, and the other five U.S. nitrogen manufacturing facilities are wholly owned directly or indirectly by CF Industries Nitrogen, LLC (CFN), of which we own approximately 89% and CHS Inc. (CHS) owns the remainder;
two Canadian nitrogen manufacturing facilities, located in Medicine Hat, Alberta (the largest nitrogen complex in Canada) and Courtright, Ontario;
a United Kingdom nitrogen manufacturing facility located in Billingham;
an extensive system of terminals and associated transportation equipment located primarily in the Midwestern United States; and
a 50% interest in Point Lisas Nitrogen Limited (PLNL), an ammonia production joint venture located in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (Trinidad) that we account for under the equity method.
We have a strategic venture with CHS under which CHS owns an equity interest in CFN, a subsidiary of CF Holdings, which represents approximately 11% of the membership interests of CFN. We own the remaining membership interests. CHS also receives deliveries pursuant to a supply agreement under which CHS has the right to purchase annually from CFN up to approximately 1.1 million tons of granular urea and 580,000 tons of UAN at market prices. As a result of its minority equity interest in CFN, CHS is entitled to semi-annual cash distributions from CFN. We are also entitled to semi-annual cash distributions from CFN. See Note 19—Noncontrolling Interest for additional information on our strategic venture with CHS.
For the years ended December 31, 2023, 2022 and 2021, we sold 19.1 million, 18.3 million and 18.5 million product tons generating net sales of $6.63 billion, $11.19 billion and $6.54 billion, respectively.
Our principal executive offices are located outside of Chicago, Illinois, at 2375 Waterview Drive, Northbrook, Illinois 60062, and our telephone number is 847-405-2400. Our Internet website address is www.cfindustries.com. Information made available on our website does not constitute part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We make available free of charge on or through our Internet website, www.cfindustries.com, all of our reports on Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K and all amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is filed electronically with, or furnished to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Copies of our Corporate Governance Guidelines, Code of Corporate Conduct and charters for the Audit Committee, Compensation and Management Development
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Committee, Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee, and Environmental Sustainability and Community Committee of our Board of Directors (the Board) are also available on our Internet website. We will provide electronic or paper copies of these documents free of charge upon request. The SEC also maintains a website at www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC.
Our Strategy
Our strategy is to leverage our unique capabilities to accelerate the world’s transition to clean energy. We believe this strategy builds upon the Company’s leadership in ammonia production to capture emerging opportunities available to ammonia produced with a lower carbon intensity than that of ammonia produced through traditional processes. These opportunities include traditional applications in agriculture to help reduce the carbon footprint of food production and the life cycle carbon intensity of ethanol production, enabling its use for sustainable aviation fuel, among other purposes. They also include new applications, such as power generation and marine shipping, that would use the hydrogen component of the ammonia molecule for clean energy given that ammonia does not contain or emit carbon when combusted.
We execute our strategy across four dimensions: decarbonizing our existing network to accelerate the availability of low-carbon ammonia; evaluating new low-carbon ammonia capacity growth; forging partnerships to accelerate our timeline and bridge gaps in areas where we do not have expertise; and collaborating to build understanding of ammonia’s clean energy capability, safety track record and regulatory environment.
Decarbonization projects in our existing network include our green ammonia project at our Donaldsonville, Louisiana complex. Green ammonia refers to ammonia produced with hydrogen sourced through an electrolysis process that produces no carbon emissions. In April 2021, we signed an engineering and procurement contract with thyssenkrupp to supply a 20 MW alkaline water electrolysis plant to produce green hydrogen at our Donaldsonville complex. We will integrate the green hydrogen generated by the electrolysis plant into existing ammonia synthesis loops to enable the production of approximately 20,000 tons per year of green ammonia. The green hydrogen production facility is mechanically complete, and commissioning activities began in early 2024. We believe that the Donaldsonville green ammonia project will be the largest of its kind in North America at the time of its startup.
Decarbonization projects in our existing network also include the production of low-carbon ammonia. Low-carbon ammonia is ammonia produced by conventional processes but with approximately 60-98% of the process and flue gas CO2 generated by ammonia production removed through carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). We are executing a project also at our Donaldsonville complex that will enable us to produce a significant volume of low-carbon ammonia. At an estimated cost of $200 million, we are constructing a CO2 dehydration and compression facility to enable CCS at the facility. Engineering activities for the construction of the dehydration and compression unit continue to advance, all major equipment for the facility has been procured, fabrication of the CO2 compressors is proceeding, and construction activities at the Donaldsonville site are underway. Once the dehydration and compression unit is in service and sequestration is initiated, we expect that the Donaldsonville complex will have the capacity to dehydrate and compress up to 2 million tons per year of process CO2, thereby converting a portion of our existing ammonia production to low-carbon ammonia. In October 2022, we announced that we had entered into a definitive CO2 offtake agreement with ExxonMobil to transport and permanently sequester the CO2 from Donaldsonville. Start-up for the project is planned for 2025. Under current regulations, the project would be expected to qualify for tax credits under Section 45Q of the Internal Revenue Code, which provides a credit per tonne of CO2 sequestered.
Alongside these projects, we are also evaluating the construction of greenfield low-carbon ammonia capacity in Louisiana. In the fourth quarter of 2023, we and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (Mitsui) completed a front-end engineering and design (FEED) study on a greenfield steam methane reforming (SMR) ammonia facility with CCS technologies. The FEED study estimates the cost of a project with these attributes to be in the range of $3 billion, with approximately $2.5 billion allocated to the ammonia facility and CCS technologies and approximately $500 million allocated to scalable common infrastructure for the site, such as ammonia storage and vessel loading docks.
We and Mitsui are progressing two additional FEED studies focused on technologies with the potential to further reduce the carbon intensity of the proposed low-carbon ammonia facility, including a FEED study evaluating autothermal reforming (ATR) ammonia production technology and a FEED study assessing the cost and viability of adding flue gas capture to an SMR ammonia facility. We expect to complete both FEED studies in the second half of 2024.
We and Mitsui are targeting the second half of 2024 for the final investment decision on the proposed greenfield low-carbon ammonia facility. Should the companies agree to move forward, the ammonia facility would be constructed at our new Blue Point complex. We own the land for the complex, which is located on the west bank of the Mississippi river in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. Construction and commissioning of a new world-scale ammonia plant typically takes approximately four years from the time construction begins.
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In addition to ongoing discussions with existing customers who have interest in forthcoming availability of low-carbon ammonia for traditional applications, we are engaged in advanced discussions regarding the supply of low-carbon ammonia for new applications. In the first quarter of 2023, we signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with JERA Co., Inc. (JERA), Japan’s largest energy generator, regarding the long-term supply of up to 500,000 tonnes per year of clean ammonia beginning in 2027. The execution of the MOU was the result of a supplier comparison and evaluation process for the procurement of clean ammonia that JERA initiated in February 2022 for the world’s first commercial scale ammonia co-firing operations that JERA is developing. The MOU establishes a framework for JERA and us to assess how we would best supply JERA with clean ammonia, which will be required to be produced with at least 60% lower carbon emissions than conventionally produced ammonia, under a long-term offtake agreement. We and JERA are evaluating a range of potential supply options, including JERA making an equity investment with us to develop a clean ammonia facility in Louisiana and a supplementary long-term offtake agreement.
We are also evaluating and in various stages of developing discussions and agreements with other companies for clean ammonia long-term offtake opportunities related to new applications of ammonia.
Company History
We were founded in 1946 as Central Farmers Fertilizer Company, and were owned by a group of regional agriculture cooperatives for the first 59 years of our existence. Central Farmers became CF Industries in 1970.
Originally established as a fertilizer brokerage company, we expanded owning and operating fertilizer manufacturing and distribution facilities in the early 1950s with a principal objective of assured supply for our owners. At various times in our history, we manufactured and/or distributed nitrogen, phosphate and potash fertilizers.
We operated as a traditional manufacturing and supply cooperative until 2002, when we adopted a new business model that established financial performance as our principal objective, rather than assured supply for our owners. A critical aspect of the new business model was to establish a more economically driven approach to the marketplace.
In August 2005, we completed the initial public offering (IPO) of our common stock, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In connection with the IPO, we consummated a reorganization transaction whereby we ceased to be a cooperative and our pre-IPO owners’ equity interests in CF Industries were cancelled in exchange for all of the proceeds of the offering and shares of our common stock. At the time of the IPO, our assets consisted of one wholly owned nitrogen manufacturing facility in Louisiana, United States; a joint venture nitrogen manufacturing facility in Alberta, Canada, of which we owned 66 percent; a phosphate mining and manufacturing operation in Florida, United States; and distribution facilities throughout North America.
In April 2010, we acquired Terra Industries Inc. (Terra), a leading North American producer and marketer of nitrogen fertilizer products for a purchase price of $4.6 billion, which was paid in cash and shares of our common stock. As a result of the Terra acquisition, we acquired five nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing facilities; an approximately 75.3% interest in Terra Nitrogen Company, L.P. (TNCLP), a publicly traded limited partnership; and certain joint venture interests.
Prior to April 30, 2013, we owned 66 percent of Canadian Fertilizers Limited (CFL), a joint venture nitrogen manufacturing facility in Alberta, Canada. On April 30, 2013, CF Industries acquired all of the outstanding interests in CFL that it did not already own and CFL became our wholly owned subsidiary.
In March 2014, we exited our phosphate mining and manufacturing business, which was located in Florida, through a sale to The Mosaic Company. As a result, we became focused solely on nitrogen manufacturing and distribution.
In July 2015, we acquired the remaining 50% equity interest in CF Fertilisers UK Group Limited (formerly known as GrowHow UK Group Limited) (CF Fertilisers UK) not previously owned by us, and CF Fertilisers UK became wholly owned by us. This transaction added CF Fertilisers UK’s nitrogen manufacturing complexes in Ince, United Kingdom and Billingham, United Kingdom to our consolidated manufacturing capacity. Due to the substantial increase in the cost of natural gas in the United Kingdom, in 2022, we closed the Ince facility, and in 2023, we ceased operations of the ammonia plant at the Billingham facility, which was idled in September 2022. Since that time, we have imported ammonia for upgrade into AN and other nitrogen products at the Billingham facility.
In February 2016, our strategic venture with CHS commenced, at which time CHS made a capital contribution of $2.8 billion to CFN in exchange for membership interests in CFN, which represented approximately 11% of the total membership interests of CFN.
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In late 2015 and 2016, we completed capacity expansion projects at our Donaldsonville complex in Louisiana and our Port Neal complex in Iowa. These projects, originally announced in 2012, included the construction of new ammonia, urea, and UAN plants at our Donaldsonville complex and new ammonia and urea plants at our Port Neal complex. These plants increased our overall production capacity by approximately 25%, improved our product mix flexibility at Donaldsonville, and improved our ability to serve upper-Midwest urea customers from our Port Neal location. The total capital cost of the capacity expansion projects was $5.2 billion.
Prior to April 2, 2018, Terra Nitrogen, Limited Partnership, which owns and operates our Verdigris nitrogen manufacturing facility in Oklahoma, was a subsidiary of TNCLP. On April 2, 2018, Terra Nitrogen GP Inc., the sole general partner of TNCLP and an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of CF Holdings, completed its purchase of all of the publicly traded common units of TNCLP (the Purchase). Upon completion of the Purchase, CF Holdings owned, through its subsidiaries, 100 percent of the general and limited partnership interests of TNCLP.
On December 1, 2023, we acquired an ammonia production facility located in Waggaman, Louisiana from Dyno Nobel Louisiana Ammonia, LLC (DNLA), a U.S. subsidiary of Australia-based Incitec Pivot Limited (IPL), pursuant to an asset purchase agreement with DNLA and IPL. The facility has a nameplate capacity of 880,000 tons of ammonia annually. In connection with the closing of the acquisition on December 1, 2023, we entered into a long-term ammonia offtake agreement providing for us to supply up to 200,000 tons of ammonia per year to IPL’s Dyno Nobel, Inc. subsidiary. Under the terms of the asset purchase agreement, $425 million of the $1.675 billion purchase price, subject to adjustment, was allocated by the parties to the ammonia offtake agreement. We funded the balance of the purchase price with $1.223 billion of cash on hand.
Product Tons and Nutrient Tons
Unless otherwise stated, we measure our production and sales volume in this Annual Report on Form 10-K in product tons, which represents the weight of the product measured in short tons (one short ton is equal to 2,000 pounds). References to UAN product tons assume a 32% nitrogen content basis for production volume. 
We also provide certain supplementary volume information measured in nutrient tons. Nutrient tons represent the weight of the product’s nitrogen content, which varies by product. Ammonia represents 82% nitrogen content, granular urea represents 46% nitrogen content, UAN represents between 28% and 32% nitrogen content and AN represents between 29% and 35% nitrogen content. 
Reportable Segments
Our reportable segments consist of the following segments: Ammonia, Granular Urea, UAN, AN and Other. These segments are differentiated by products. We use gross margin to evaluate segment performance and allocate resources. Total other operating costs and expenses (consisting primarily of selling, general and administrative expenses and other operating—net) and non-operating expenses (consisting primarily of interest and income taxes), are centrally managed and are not included in the measurement of segment profitability reviewed by management. See Note 22—Segment Disclosures for additional information.
Our Products
Our primary nitrogen products are ammonia, granular urea, UAN and AN. Our historical sales of nitrogen products by segment are shown in the following table. Net sales do not reflect amounts used internally, such as ammonia, in the manufacture of other products.
 202320222021
 Sales Volume (tons)Net SalesSales Volume (tons)Net SalesSales Volume (tons)Net Sales
 (tons in thousands; dollars in millions)
Ammonia3,546 $1,679 3,300 $3,090 3,589 $1,787 
Granular Urea4,570 1,823 4,572 2,892 4,290 1,880 
UAN7,237 2,068 6,788 3,572 6,584 1,788 
AN1,571 497 1,594 845 1,720 510 
Other(1)
2,206 564 2,077 787 2,318 573 
Total19,130 $6,631 18,331 $11,186 18,501 $6,538 
_______________________________________________________________________________
(1)Other segment products primarily include DEF, urea liquor, nitric acid and aqua ammonia.
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Gross margin was $2.55 billion, $5.86 billion and $2.39 billion for the years ended December 31, 2023, 2022 and 2021, respectively.
We own and operate eight nitrogen manufacturing facilities in North America, including six nitrogen manufacturing facilities in the United States, and two in Canada. As of December 31, 2023, the combined production capacity of these eight facilities represented approximately 40%, 42%, 44% and 19% of North American ammonia, granular urea, UAN and AN production capacity, respectively. Each of our nitrogen manufacturing facilities in North America has on-site storage to provide flexibility to manage the flow of outbound shipments without impacting production. Our United Kingdom nitrogen manufacturing facility produces AN and serves primarily the agricultural and industrial markets in the United Kingdom.
The following table shows the production capacities as of December 31, 2023 at each of our nitrogen manufacturing facilities:
 
Average Annual Capacity(1)
 
Gross
Ammonia(2)
Net
Ammonia(2)
UAN(3)
Urea(4)
AN(5)
Other(6)
 (tons in thousands)
Donaldsonville (Louisiana)(7)(8)
4,335 1,390 3,255 2,635 — 445 
Medicine Hat (Alberta)1,230 770 — 810 — — 
Port Neal (Iowa)1,230 65 800 1,350 — 290 
Verdigris (Oklahoma)(8)
1,210 430 1,955 — — — 
Waggaman (Louisiana)880 880 — — — — 
Woodward (Oklahoma)480 130 810 — — 115 
Yazoo City (Mississippi)(8)(9)
570 — 160 — 1,035 125 
Courtright (Ontario)(8)(10)
500 265 345 — — 400 
Billingham (U.K.)(8)
— — — — 595 410 
10,435 3,930 7,325 4,795 1,630 1,785 
Unconsolidated Affiliate      
PLNL (Trinidad)(11)
360 360 — — — — 
Total10,795 4,290 7,325 4,795 1,630 1,785 
_______________________________________________________________________________
(1)Average annual capacity includes allowance for normal outages and planned maintenance shutdowns.
(2)Gross ammonia capacity includes ammonia used to produce upgraded products. Net ammonia capacity is gross ammonia capacity less ammonia used to produce upgraded products based on the product mix shown in the table.
(3)Measured in tons of UAN containing 32% nitrogen by weight.
(4)Reflects granular urea capacity from the Donaldsonville, Medicine Hat, and Port Neal facilities. Urea liquor and DEF production capacities are included in Other.
(5)AN includes prilled products (Amtrate and industrial-grade AN, or IGAN) and AN solution produced for sale.
(6)Includes product tons of: urea liquor and DEF from the Donaldsonville, Port Neal, Woodward, Yazoo City, and Courtright facilities; nitric acid from the Billingham facility. Production of DEF can be increased by reducing urea and/or UAN production.
(7)The Donaldsonville facility capacities present an estimated production mix. This facility is capable of producing between 2.4 million and 3.3 million tons of granular urea and between 1.2 million and 4.3 million tons of UAN annually. The facility is also capable of producing up to 1.2 million product tons of 32.5% DEF.
(8)Reduction of UAN or AN production at the Yazoo City, Courtright, Verdigris, Donaldsonville and Billingham facilities can allow more merchant nitric acid to be made available for sale.
(9)The Yazoo City facility’s production capacity depends on product mix. With the facility maximizing the production of AN products, 160,000 tons of UAN can be produced. UAN production can be increased to 450,000 tons by reducing the production of AN to 900,000 tons.
(10)Production of urea liquor and DEF at the Courtright facility can be increased by reducing UAN production.
(11)Represents our 50% interest in the capacity of PLNL.

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The following table summarizes our production volume for the last three years:
 December 31,
 202320222021
 (tons in thousands)
Ammonia(1)
9,496 9,807 9,349 
Granular urea4,544 4,561 4,123 
UAN (32%)6,852 6,706 6,763 
AN1,520 1,517 1,646 
_______________________________________________________________________________
(1)Gross ammonia production, including amounts subsequently upgraded on-site into granular urea, UAN or AN.
Nitrogen Manufacturing Facilities
Donaldsonville, Louisiana
The Donaldsonville facility is the world’s largest and most flexible nitrogen complex. It has six ammonia plants, five urea plants, four nitric acid plants, three UAN plants, and one DEF plant. The complex, which is located on the Mississippi River, includes deep-water docking facilities, access to an ammonia pipeline, and truck and railroad loading capabilities. The complex has on-site storage for 139,000 tons of ammonia, 202,000 tons of UAN (measured on a 32% nitrogen content basis) and 130,000 tons of granular urea.
Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
The Medicine Hat facility, located in southeast Alberta, is the largest nitrogen complex in Canada. It has two ammonia plants and one urea plant. The complex has on-site storage for 55,000 tons of ammonia and 55,000 tons of granular urea.
Sergeant Bluff, Iowa (the Port Neal facility)
The Port Neal facility is located approximately 12 miles south of Sioux City, Iowa, on the Missouri River in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa. The facility consists of two ammonia plants, three urea plants, two nitric acid plants and one UAN plant. The location has on-site storage for 82,000 tons of ammonia, 130,000 tons of granular urea, and 100,000 tons of 32% UAN.
Claremore, Oklahoma (the Verdigris facility)
The Verdigris facility is located northeast of Tulsa, Oklahoma, near the Verdigris River, in Claremore, Oklahoma. It is the second largest UAN production facility in North America. The facility consists of two ammonia plants, two nitric acid plants, two UAN plants and a port terminal. We lease the port terminal from the Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority. The complex has on-site storage for 57,000 tons of ammonia and 102,000 tons of 32% UAN.
Waggaman, Louisiana
The Waggaman facility is located near New Orleans, Louisiana on the Mississippi River approximately 60 miles southeast of the Donaldsonville facility. The facility consists of one ammonia plant, has access to an ammonia pipeline, and has on-site storage for approximately 39,000 tons of ammonia.
Woodward, Oklahoma
The Woodward facility is located in rural northwest Oklahoma and consists of one ammonia plant, two nitric acid plants, two urea plants and two UAN plants. The facility has on-site storage for 34,000 tons of ammonia and 84,000 tons of 32% UAN.
Yazoo City, Mississippi
The Yazoo City facility is located in central Mississippi and includes one ammonia plant, four nitric acid plants, one AN plant, two urea plants, one UAN plant and a dinitrogen tetroxide production and storage facility. The site has on-site storage for 48,000 tons of ammonia, 47,000 tons of 32% UAN and 10,000 tons of AN and related products.
Courtright, Ontario, Canada
The Courtright facility is located south of Sarnia, Ontario near the St. Clair River. The facility consists of an ammonia plant, a UAN plant, a nitric acid plant and a urea plant. The location has on-site storage for 61,000 tons of ammonia and 16,000 tons of 32% UAN.
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Billingham, United Kingdom
The Billingham facility, located in the Teesside chemical area in northeastern England, is geographically split among three primary locations: the main site, which contains three nitric acid plants; the Portrack site, approximately two miles away, which contains an AN fertilizer plant; and the North Tees site, approximately seven miles away, which contains an ammonia storage area. These locations collectively have on-site storage for 37,000 tons of ammonia and 138,000 tons of AN. In addition, we used to operate an ammonia plant at the main site of the Billingham facility. However, in September 2022, we idled ammonia production at the facility. Since that time, we have imported ammonia for upgrade at the facility into AN and other nitrogen products. In the third quarter of 2023, we approved our plan to permanently close the ammonia plant at the Billingham facility.
Point Lisas, Trinidad
The Point Lisas Nitrogen facility in Trinidad is owned jointly through a 50/50 venture with Koch Fertilizer LLC. This facility has the capacity to produce 720,000 tons of ammonia annually from natural gas supplied under a contract with The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC).
Nitrogen Product Raw Materials
Natural gas is the principal raw material and primary fuel source used in the ammonia production process at our nitrogen manufacturing facilities. In 2023, natural gas accounted for approximately 40% of our total production costs for nitrogen products. Our nitrogen manufacturing facilities have access to abundant, competitively-priced natural gas through a reliable network of pipelines that are connected to major natural gas trading hubs. Our facilities utilize the following natural gas hubs: Henry Hub, SONAT and TETCO ELA in Louisiana; ONEOK in Oklahoma; AECO in Alberta; Ventura in Iowa; Demarcation in Kansas; Welcome in Minnesota; Dawn and Parkway in Ontario; and the National Balancing Point (NBP) in the United Kingdom.
In 2023, our nitrogen manufacturing facilities consumed, in the aggregate, approximately 340 million MMBtus of natural gas. We employ a combination of daily spot and term purchases from a variety of quality suppliers to maintain a reliable, competitively-priced supply of natural gas. We also use certain financial instruments to hedge natural gas prices. See Note 17—Derivative Financial Instruments for additional information about our natural gas hedging activities.
Nitrogen Product Distribution
The safe, efficient and economical distribution of nitrogen products is critical for successful operations. Our nitrogen production facilities have access to multiple transportation modes by which we ship products to terminals, warehouses and customers. Each of our production facilities has a unique distribution pattern based on its production capacity and location.
Our North American nitrogen production facilities can ship products via truck and rail to customers and to our storage facilities in the U.S. and Canada, with access to our leased railcar fleet of approximately 4,900 tank and hopper cars, as well as railcars provided by rail carriers. Our United Kingdom nitrogen production facility mainly ships products via truck.
The North American waterway system is also used extensively to ship products from our Donaldsonville, Verdigris and Yazoo City facilities. To ship ammonia and UAN, we employ a fleet of up to eleven tow boats and thirty-six river barges, which are primarily leased. We also utilize contract marine services to move granular urea and AN. We can also export nitrogen products via seagoing vessels from our Donaldsonville and Billingham manufacturing facilities.
The Donaldsonville and Waggaman facilities are connected to the 2,000-mile long Nustar pipeline through which we have the ability to transport ammonia to ten terminals and shipping points in the Midwestern U.S. corn belt.
Storage Facilities and Other Properties
As of December 31, 2023, we owned or leased space at 48 in-market storage terminals and warehouses located in a 22-state region of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Including storage at our production facilities, we have an aggregate storage capacity for approximately 3.0 million tons of product. Our storage capabilities are summarized in the following table:
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 AmmoniaGranular Urea
UAN(1)
AN
 Number of
Facilities
Capacity
(000 Tons)
Number of
Facilities
Capacity
(000 Tons)
Number of
Facilities
Capacity
(000 Tons)
Number of
Facilities
Capacity
(000 Tons)
Plants552 315 551 148 
Terminal and Warehouse Locations
Owned(2)
22 766 — — 244 — — 
Leased(3)
69 35 19 279 — — 
Total In-Market27 835 35 28 523 — — 
Total Storage Capacity1,387 350 1,074 148 
_______________________________________________________________________________
(1)Capacity is expressed as the equivalent volume of UAN measured on a 32% nitrogen content basis.
(2)The owned facilities that store UAN also can store ammonia.
(3)Our lease agreements are typically for periods of one to five years and commonly contain provisions for automatic renewal that can extend the lease term unless cancelled by either party.
Customers
The principal customers for our nitrogen products are cooperatives, independent fertilizer distributors, traders, wholesalers and industrial users. Sales are generated by our internal marketing and sales force. CHS was our largest customer in 2023 and accounted for approximately 13% of our consolidated net sales. We have a strategic venture with CHS under which CHS has a minority equity interest in CFN. See Note 19—Noncontrolling Interest for additional information on our strategic venture with CHS.
Competition
Our markets are global and intensely competitive, based primarily on delivered price and, to a lesser extent, on reliability, customer service and product quality. During the peak demand periods, product availability and delivery time also play a role in the buying decisions of customers.
Our primary competitors with North American operations include Nutrien Ltd., Koch Fertilizer LLC, N-7 LLC (a joint venture between OCI N.V. and Dakota Gasification Company) and Yara International. There is also significant competition from products sourced from other regions of the world, including some with lower natural gas or other feedstock costs, which may include the benefit of government subsidies. Because ammonia, urea and UAN are widely-traded fertilizer products and there are limited barriers to entry, we experience competition from foreign-sourced products continuously. Producers of nitrogen-based fertilizers located in the Middle East, Trinidad, Africa and Russia have been major exporters to North America in recent years.
Our primary United Kingdom competition comes from imported products supplied by companies including Yara International, Origin Fertilisers, Ameropa and Thomas Bell & Sons Ltd. Urea and UAN are not produced in the United Kingdom, but along with AN are widely-traded fertilizer products with limited barriers to entry.
Seasonality
The fertilizer business is seasonal. The degree of seasonality of our business can change significantly from year to year due to weather conditions in the agricultural industry and other factors. The strongest demand for our products in North America occurs during the spring planting season, with a second period of strong demand following the fall harvest. In contrast, we and other fertilizer producers generally manufacture and distribute products throughout the year. As a result, we and/or our customers generally build inventories during the low demand periods of the year to ensure timely product availability during the peak sales seasons. Seasonality is greatest for ammonia due to the short application season and the limited ability of our customers and their customers to store significant quantities of this product. The seasonality of fertilizer demand generally results in our sales volumes and net sales being the highest during the spring and our working capital requirements being the highest just prior to the start of the spring planting season. Our quarterly financial results can vary significantly from one year to the next due to weather-related shifts in planting and application schedules and purchasing patterns as well as import timing, import and distribution costs and logistical limitations, such as river conditions.
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Environmental, Health and Safety
We are subject to numerous environmental, health and safety laws and regulations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union (EU) and Trinidad, including laws and regulations relating to the generation and handling of hazardous substances and wastes; the introduction of new chemicals or substances into a market; the cleanup of hazardous substance releases; the discharge of regulated substances to air or water; and the demolition of existing plant sites upon permanent closure. In the United States, these laws include the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and various other federal, state and local statutes. Violations of environmental, health and safety laws can result in substantial penalties, court orders to install pollution-control equipment, civil and criminal sanctions, permit revocations and facility shutdowns. In addition, environmental, health and safety laws and regulations may impose joint and several liability, without regard to fault, for cleanup costs on potentially responsible parties who have released or disposed of hazardous substances into the environment. We may be subject to more stringent enforcement of existing or new environmental, health and safety laws in the future.
Environmental, Health and Safety Expenditures
Our environmental, health and safety capital expenditures in 2023 totaled approximately $36 million. We estimate that we will have approximately $47 million of environmental, health and safety capital expenditures in 2024. In addition, to support safe and reliable operations at our continuous process manufacturing facilities, we conduct scheduled inspections, replacements and overhauls of our plant machinery and equipment, which are referred to as turnarounds. A further description of turnaround activities is included in Note 8—Property, Plant and Equipment—Net in the notes to consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this report. Environmental, health and safety laws and regulations are complex, change frequently and have tended to become more stringent over time. We expect that continued government and public emphasis on environmental issues will result in increased future expenditures for environmental controls at our manufacturing and distribution facilities. Such expenditures could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Additionally, future environmental, health and safety laws and regulations or reinterpretation of current laws and regulations may require us to make substantial expenditures. Our costs to comply with, or any liabilities under, these laws and regulations could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
CERCLA/Remediation Matters
From time to time, we receive notices from governmental agencies or third parties alleging that we are a potentially responsible party at certain cleanup sites under CERCLA or other environmental cleanup laws. In 2011, we received a notice from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) that alleged that we were a potentially responsible party for the cleanup of a former phosphate mine site we owned in the late 1950s and early 1960s located in Georgetown Canyon, Idaho. The current owner of the property and a former mining contractor received similar notices for the site. In 2014, we and the current property owner entered into a Consent Order with IDEQ and the U.S. Forest Service to conduct a remedial investigation and feasibility study of the site. The remedial investigation was submitted to the agencies in 2021. The next step will be a risk assessment, followed by a feasibility study. In 2015, we and several other parties received a notice that the U.S. Department of the Interior and other trustees intended to undertake a natural resource damage assessment for 18 former phosphate mines and three former processing facilities in southeast Idaho. The Georgetown Canyon former mine and processing facility was included in the group of former mines and processing facilities identified by the trustees. In June 2021, we received another notice from the U.S. Department of the Interior that the natural resource damage trustees were commencing a ‘subsequent’ phase of the natural resource damage assessment, but no further details were provided with respect to said assessment. Because the former Georgetown Canyon mine site is still in the risk assessment and feasibility study stage, we are not able to estimate at this time our potential liability, if any, with respect to the cleanup of the site or a possible claim for natural resource damages. However, based on the results of the site investigation conducted to date, we do not expect the remedial or financial obligations to which we may be subject involving this or other cleanup sites will have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
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Regulation of Greenhouse Gases
Our production facilities emit greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Natural gas, a fossil fuel, is a primary raw material used in our nitrogen production process. We are subject to GHG regulations in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.
Our U.K. manufacturing plant is required to report GHG emissions annually to the United Kingdom Environment Agency pursuant to its site Environmental Permits and Climate Change Agreement, which specifies energy efficiency targets. Failure to meet efficiency targets may require the plant to purchase CO2 emissions allowances. Our U.K. manufacturing plant is subject to the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS), which generally requires us to hold or obtain emission allowances to offset GHG emissions from those aspects of our operations that are subject to regulation under this program.
In Canada, we are required to conduct an annual review of our operations with respect to compliance with Environment Canada’s National Pollutant Release Inventory, Ontario’s Mandatory Monitoring and Reporting Regulation, and the GHG Reporting Regulation. In addition, our manufacturing plants in Alberta and Ontario are subject to provincial or federal laws that impose a price on excess GHG emissions. Each of these laws establishes carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions standards applicable to our facilities in terms of emissions per unit of production, with the provincial laws and the federal law using different formulas for establishing the intensity-based limits and the reductions in these limits over time. The federal law is the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, which came into effect in 2018 and is intended to function only as a backstop to the provincial programs if such programs do not meet minimum federal criteria. In 2022, the federal government found that both the Alberta and Ontario programs for 2023-2030 met such minimum criteria, and therefore, the provincial laws apply. Effective January 1, 2023, these provincial regulations increased in stringency from 2022 levels, and we expect that the regulations will continue to increase in stringency going forward as Canada continues to work toward its stated goal of net zero GHG emissions by 2050. If a facility’s CO2e emissions exceed the applicable limit, the excess emissions must be offset, either through obtaining qualifying emission credits or by making a payment for each ton of excess emissions. For calendar year 2024, the excess emissions fee under the federal, Alberta and Ontario regulatory programs is CAD $80 per tonne, which fee will increase by CAD $15 per tonne per year, reaching CAD $170 per tonne by 2030.
In the United States, GHG regulation is evolving at state, regional and federal levels, although some of the more significant developments to date, including efforts of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate GHG emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants, do not directly impose obligations on our facilities. The EPA issued a mandatory GHG reporting rule that required all of our U.S. manufacturing facilities, which are considered large emitters of GHGs, to commence monitoring GHG emissions beginning on January 1, 2010 and reporting the previous year’s emissions annually starting in 2011. In addition, if we seek to modify or expand any of our major facilities and as a result, are required to obtain a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) construction permit applicable to such facilities, we could be subject to pollution control requirements applicable to GHGs in addition to requirements applicable to conventional air pollutants. Such requirements may result in increased costs or delays in completing such projects. Other than the states’ implementation of this permitting requirement, none of the states where our U.S. production facilities are located – Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma – has proposed control regulations limiting GHG emissions.
Increasing concern over the impacts of climate change is driving countries to establish ever more ambitious GHG reduction targets. Approximately 200 countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the members of the EU have joined the Paris Agreement, an international agreement intended to provide a framework pursuant to which the parties to the agreement will attempt to hold the increase in global average temperatures to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Each signatory is required to develop its own national plan to attain this objective. In December 2020, the United Kingdom announced a target to reduce GHG emissions 68% from the baseline year of 1990 by 2030. Canada has increased its emissions reduction target under the Paris Agreement to 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030, up from 30%. In April 2021, the United States increased its goal to reduce GHG emissions to 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030. Executive orders issued by the Biden administration, including in particular an executive order issued on January 27, 2021 focusing on climate change, evidence the administration’s intent to undertake numerous initiatives in an effort to reduce GHG emissions, including promoting renewable energy development, limiting new oil and gas leases on federal lands and, in general, making climate change considerations a critical component of federal policy.
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Regulatory Permits and Approvals
We hold numerous environmental and other governmental permits and approvals authorizing operations at each of our facilities. A decision by a government agency to deny or delay issuing a new or renewed regulatory material permit or approval, or to revoke or substantially modify an existing material permit or approval, could have a material adverse effect on our ability to continue operations at the affected facility. Any future expansion of our existing operations is also predicated upon securing the necessary environmental or other permits or approvals. More stringent environmental standards may impact our ability to obtain such permits.
Human Capital Resources
Our long-term success depends on our people. We are dedicated to creating a workplace where employees are proud to work and grow and where everyone feels empowered to do their best work. We do this by investing in extensive recruitment, training and professional development opportunities for our employees and fostering diversity and inclusion in our culture.
Employee Population. We employed approximately 2,700 employees at December 31, 2023, of which 78% were located in the United States, 15% in Canada, and 7% in the United Kingdom. As of December 31, 2023, 11% of our employees have worked for the Company more than 20 years, 20% of our employees have worked for the Company between 11 and 20 years, 27% of our employees have worked for the Company between 6 and 10 years, and 42% of our employees have worked at the Company for less than 6 years. Full-time employees represented nearly 100% of our workforce as of December 31, 2023 and approximately 5% were covered by collective bargaining agreements. We supplement our workforce with contractors with specialized skill sets during periods of peak activity, such as during turnarounds and maintenance events.
Culture, Inclusion and Diversity. Our core values and their underlying principles reflect our commitment to a diverse and inclusive culture, treating one another with respect. Across the Company, all employees complete training to learn to recognize and address the effects of unconscious bias by challenging assumptions; encouraging diversity of experience, opinion, and expression; and supporting a workplace culture that actively strives to be more inclusive. As of December 31, 2023, approximately 16% of our global workforce was female and 17% of the Company’s employees in frontline managerial roles were female. Underrepresented groups account for approximately 18% of the Company’s U.S. workforce and 17% of our U.S. employees in managerial roles. In order to continue to improve the inclusiveness and diversity of our company and culture, our comprehensive Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals announced in 2020 include goals to increase the representation of females and persons of color in senior leadership roles and to implement a program designed to increase the hiring and promotion of minority and female candidates. As of December 31, 2023, we had exceeded our representation goal with approximately 37% of senior leadership roles held by females and persons of color.
Workforce Health and Safety. Operating in a safe and responsible manner is a core value and an integral part of what sets the Company apart. We believe that focusing on leading indicators — such as the behavioral safety practices we have incorporated into our annual incentive plan — to drive and measure activities that prevent safety incidents, results in our industry-leading safety record. As of December 31, 2023, our employee 12-month rolling average recordable incident rate (RIR) was 0.36 incidents per 200,000 work hours, and during the year ended December 31, 2023, our total recordable injury count was ten. For the year ended December 31, 2023, our days away, restricted or transferred (DART) incident rate was 0.11 injuries per 200,000 work hours, and our lost time incident rate was 0.04 injuries per 200,000 work hours.
Talent Development. A core aspect of our culture is our commitment to identifying and developing talent to help employees accelerate growth and achieve their career goals. We invest in extensive assessment, training and professional development opportunities for our employees through a robust set of formal and informal programs, including targeted job movements, key experiences, and training, with an emphasis on creating a culture of inclusion. Leadership is the quality that drives our values and sets us apart. To help foster leadership, we have developed a set of leadership competencies that provide a common language for how to demonstrate leadership at every level of the organization and have embedded them into all talent management processes, including selection, performance management and succession planning. We view training and development programs as being a key part of talent management, allowing us to grow a stronger company today and in the future.
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ITEM 1A.    RISK FACTORS.
In addition to the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, you should carefully consider the factors discussed below before deciding to invest in any of our securities. These risks and uncertainties, individually or in combination, could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. References to tons refer to short tons and references to tonnes refer to metric tons.
Market Risks
Our business is cyclical, resulting in periods of industry oversupply during which our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows tend to be negatively affected.
Historically, selling prices for our products, which are generally global commodities, have fluctuated in response to periodic changes in supply and demand conditions. Demand for nitrogen is affected by planted acreage, crop selection and fertilizer application rates, driven by population growth, gross domestic product growth, changes in dietary habits and non-food use of crops, such as production of ethanol and other biofuels among other things. Demand also includes industrial uses of nitrogen, for example chemical manufacturing and emissions reductants such as diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). Supply is affected primarily by available production capacity and operating rates, raw material costs and availability, energy prices, government policies and global trade.
Periods of strong demand, high capacity utilization and increasing operating margins tend to stimulate global investment in production capacity. In the past, nitrogen manufacturers, including CF Holdings, have built new production facilities or expanded capacity of existing production assets, or announced plans to do so. The construction of new nitrogen manufacturing capacity in the industry, plus improvements to increase output from the existing production assets, increase nitrogen supply availability and affect the balance of supply and demand and nitrogen selling prices. In certain years, global nitrogen capacity has increased faster than global nitrogen demand, creating a surplus of global nitrogen capacity, which has led to lower nitrogen selling prices. For example, in the two-year period ended December 31, 2017, additional production capacity came online and, at the same time, the average selling price for our products declined 34%, from $314 per ton in 2015 to $207 per ton in 2017.
Additional nitrogen production capacity is expected to come online over the next 12 months outside of North America. In addition, plans for building new facilities for green and low-carbon ammonia have been announced by other companies and CF Holdings, such as our proposed plans for an export-oriented greenfield low-carbon ammonia production facility in the southeastern United States. We cannot predict the impact of this additional capacity on nitrogen selling prices. Also, global or local economic, political and financial conditions or changes in such conditions, or other factors, may cause acceleration of announced and/or ongoing projects. Similarly, lower energy prices can spur increases in production in high cost regions, which would result in increased supply and pressure on selling prices. Additionally, if imports increase into an oversupplied region, lower prices in that region could result.
During periods of industry oversupply, our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows tend to be affected negatively as the price at which we sell our products typically declines, resulting in possible reduced profit margins, write-downs in the value of our inventory and temporary or permanent curtailments of production. From time to time, we have experienced periods of industry oversupply, which impacted our financial performance, credit ratings and the trading price for our common stock. Due to the cyclical nature of our industry, we cannot predict the timing or duration of such periods of industry oversupply or the degree to which oversupply conditions would impact our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Nitrogen products are global commodities, and we face intense global competition from other producers.
We are subject to intense price competition from our competitors. The nitrogen products that we produce are global commodities, with little or no product differentiation, and customers make their purchasing decisions principally on the basis of delivered price and, to a lesser extent, customer service and product quality. As a consequence, conditions in the international market for nitrogen products significantly influence our operating results.
We compete with many producers, including state-owned and government-subsidized entities. Some of our competitors have greater total resources and are less dependent on earnings from fertilizer sales, which make them less vulnerable to fertilizer industry downturns and better positioned to pursue new expansion and development opportunities. Furthermore, certain governments, in some cases as owners of some of our competitors, may be willing to accept lower prices and profitability on their products or subsidize production inputs or consumption in order to support domestic employment or other political or social goals. Our competitive position could suffer as a result of these factors, including if we are not able to expand our own resources to a similar extent, either through investments in new or existing operations or through acquisitions or joint ventures.
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China, the world’s largest producer and consumer of nitrogen fertilizers, currently has surplus capacity and many high-cost plants. As a result, the domestic nitrogen industry in China is operating at less than full capacity. In addition, the Chinese government is currently limiting exports through a variety of measures. A number of factors could encourage China to increase product capacity utilization, including changes in Chinese government policy, devaluation of the Chinese renminbi, the relaxation of Chinese environmental standards or decreases in Chinese producers’ underlying costs such as the price of Chinese coal. Any resulting increase in export volume could adversely affect the balance between global supply and demand and put downward pressure on global fertilizer prices, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.    
From time to time, certain of our competitors with significant nitrogen fertilizer export capacity have benefited from non-market pricing of natural gas, which has resulted in significant volumes of exports to the United States. For example, the 2016 revocations of U.S. antidumping measures on solid urea and fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate from Russia allowed for increased imports from that country into the United States in recent years. In addition, in recent years, high volumes of urea ammonium nitrate solution (UAN) imports from Russia and The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (Trinidad) have negatively affected U.S. producers’ UAN profitability.
We also face competition from other fertilizer producers in the Middle East, Europe, Latin America and Africa. These producers, depending on market conditions, fluctuating input prices, geographic location and freight economics, may take actions at times with respect to price or selling volumes that adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Some of these producers also benefit from non-market or government-set rates for natural gas pricing. Government policies in these regions may also stimulate future ammonia or hydrogen investments. Recently, many proposed green and low-carbon ammonia projects have been announced or considered, and future hydrogen, energy, or environmental/carbon policies may support development of additional nitrogen production in locations outside North America, including Europe, Australia, India, and the Middle East.
In addition, the international market for nitrogen products is influenced by such factors as currency exchange rates, including the relative value of the U.S. dollar and its impact on the cost of importing nitrogen products into the United States, foreign agricultural policies, the existence of, or changes in, import or foreign currency exchange barriers in certain foreign markets and the laws and policies of the markets in which we operate, including the imposition of new duties, tariffs or quotas, that affect foreign trade and investment. For example, the imposition of duties, tariffs or quotas in a region can directly impact product pricing in that region, which can lead to changes in global trade flows and impact the global supply and demand balance and pricing. Market participants customarily move product between regions of the world, or adjust trade flows, in response to these factors. North America, where we manufacture and sell most of our products, is one of the largest and most accessible nitrogen trading regions in the world. As a result, other manufacturers, traders and other market participants can move nitrogen products to North America when there is uncertainty associated with the supply and demand balance in other regions or when duties, tariffs or quotas impact prices or trade flows in other regions. Thus, duties, tariffs and quotas can lead to uncertainty in the global marketplace and impact the supply and demand balance in many regions, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. In October 2019, the European Commission (the Commission) imposed definitive anti-dumping duties on imports to the European Union (EU) of UAN manufactured in Russia, Trinidad and the United States. For imports of UAN manufactured in the United States, the fixed duty rate is €29.48 per tonne (or €26.74 per ton). The duties are expected to remain in place for an initial five-year period and to expire in October 2024 unless there is a request submitted by July 10, 2024 to renew and continue the measures, which request would be investigated by the Commission. How long and at what level these duties will remain in effect and their long-term impact on the international market for nitrogen products are uncertain.
A decline in agricultural production, limitations on the use of our products for agricultural purposes or developments in crop technology could materially adversely affect the demand for our products.
Conditions in the United States, Europe, India, Brazil, China and other countries and regions of global significance in agricultural production significantly impact our operating results. Agricultural planted areas and production can be affected by a number of factors, including weather patterns and field conditions, current and projected grain inventories and prices, crop disease and/or livestock disease, demand for agricultural products and governmental policies regarding production of or trade in agricultural products. These factors are outside of our control.
Governmental policies, including farm and biofuel subsidies, commodity support programs and tariffs, environmental and greenhouse gas policies, as well as the prices of fertilizer products, may also directly or indirectly influence the number of acres planted, the mix of crops planted and the use of fertilizers for particular agricultural applications. Ethanol production in the United States contributes significantly to corn demand, representing approximately 40% of total U.S. corn demand, due in part to federal legislation mandating use of renewable fuels. The resulting increase in ethanol production has led to an increase in the
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amount of corn grown in the United States and to increased fertilizer usage on both corn and other crops that have also benefited from improved farm economics. While the current Renewable Fuel Standard encourages continued high levels of corn-based ethanol production, various interested parties have called to eliminate or reduce the renewable fuel mandate, or to eliminate or reduce corn-based ethanol as part of the renewable fuel mandate. Other factors that drive the ethanol market include the prices of ethanol, gasoline and corn. Lower gasoline prices and fewer aggregate miles, driven by increased automobile fuel efficiency, the continued expansion of electric vehicle use or the impact of decreased travel, such as the decreased travel experienced during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, may put pressure on ethanol prices that could result in reduced profitability and lower production for the ethanol industry. This could have an adverse effect on corn-based ethanol production, planted corn acreage and fertilizer demand. Additionally, government incentives and other policies and recent increased investment in renewable biodiesel and associated soybean crush capacity may drive higher soybean oil prices, resulting in more planted acres allocated to soybeans and other oil crops and displacing some acreage traditionally planted to more nitrogen intensive crops such as grains and cotton.
Developments in crop technology, such as nitrogen fixation, the conversion of atmospheric nitrogen into compounds that plants can assimilate, or nitrogen-efficient varieties, or developments in alternatives to traditional animal feed or alternative proteins, could also reduce the use of nitrogen fertilizers and adversely affect the demand for our products. Widespread adoption of emerging application technologies or alternative farming techniques could disrupt traditional application practices, affecting the volume or types of fertilizer products used and timing of applications. In addition, from time to time various foreign governments and U.S. state legislatures have considered limitations on the use and application of nitrogen fertilizers due to concerns about the negative impact that the application of these products can have on the environment. For example, the United Kingdom has worked with industry to develop an assurance scheme to limit the use of unprotected or uninhibited urea products between January and March of every year, beginning in 2024. While CF Fertilisers UK Limited does not sell solid urea fertilizer in the United Kingdom, limitations on fertilizer use have been and may be considered by other jurisdictions, such as the EU, which has announced its Farm to Fork Strategy and Biodiversity Strategy. In addition, Canada has announced a target of reducing emissions from fertilizers by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030, and is supporting implementation through improved nitrogen management and optimizing fertilizer use. These or other more stringent limitations on greenhouse gas emissions applicable to farmers, the end-users of our nitrogen fertilizers, could reduce the demand for our fertilizer products to the extent their use of our products increases farm-level emissions. Any reduction in the demand for our nitrogen fertilizer products, including as a result of technological developments and/or limitations on the use and application of nitrogen fertilizers, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our business is dependent on natural gas, the prices of which are subject to volatility.
Nitrogen from the atmosphere and hydrogen from natural gas, coal and other carbon energy feedstocks, or from the electrolysis of water, are the fundamental building blocks of nitrogen products. Energy feedstock costs comprise a significant portion of the total production cost of nitrogen products and, relative to the industry’s marginal producers that set the global price of nitrogen, generally determine profitability for nitrogen producers. Our manufacturing processes utilize natural gas as the principal raw material used in our production of nitrogen products. We use natural gas both as a chemical feedstock and as a fuel to produce ammonia, granular urea, UAN, AN and other nitrogen products.
Most of our nitrogen manufacturing facilities are located in the United States and Canada. As a result, North American natural gas comprises a significant portion of the total production cost of our products. The price of natural gas in North America has historically been volatile. The price has declined on average due in part to the development of significant natural gas reserves, including shale gas, and the rapid improvement in shale gas extraction techniques, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. However, future production of natural gas from shale formations could be reduced by regulatory changes that restrict drilling or hydraulic fracturing or increase its cost or by reduction in oil exploration and development prompted by lower oil prices resulting in production of less associated gas. Changes in the supply of and demand for natural gas can lead to extended periods of higher natural gas prices.
In recent years, the cost of North American natural gas for the production of nitrogen fertilizers has been significantly lower than the cost of natural gas in other parts of the world where the industry’s marginal nitrogen producers are located. Any increases in the volume of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exported from the United States to other regions, or increases in natural gas development outside the United States, particularly in regions where nitrogen products are produced, could increase our natural gas costs and/or lower natural gas costs for our competitors. In recent years, LNG export capabilities of the United States have expanded and LNG exports from the United States have increased, resulting in the United States being a leading exporter of LNG globally in 2023, and such expanded capabilities and increases in exports are expected to continue. If natural gas prices outside of North America were to decrease or North American natural gas prices were to increase, our favorable energy cost differentials relative to the industry’s marginal nitrogen producers could significantly erode, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
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During 2023, the daily closing price at the Henry Hub, the most heavily-traded natural gas pricing point in North America, reached a low of $1.72 per MMBtu on three consecutive days in June 2023 and a high of $3.81 per MMBtu on January 5, 2023. During the three-year period ended December 31, 2023, the daily closing price at the Henry Hub reached a low of $1.72 per MMBtu on three consecutive days in June 2023 and a high of $23.61 per MMBtu on February 18, 2021.
Certain of our operating facilities are located near natural gas hubs that have experienced increased natural gas development and have favorable basis differences as compared to other North American hubs. Favorable basis differences in certain regions may dissipate over time due to increases in natural gas pipeline or storage capacity in those regions. Additionally, basis differentials may become materially unfavorable due to a lack of inbound gas pipeline or storage capacity in other regions during periods of unusually high demand. Increased demand for natural gas, particularly in the Gulf Coast Region, due to increased industrial demand and increased natural gas exports, could result in increased natural gas prices. If reduced production, increased demand or changes in basis were to occur, or if other developments adversely impact the supply and demand balance for natural gas in North America or elsewhere, natural gas prices could rise, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Adverse weather conditions may decrease demand for our fertilizer products, increase the cost of natural gas or materially disrupt our operations. Adverse weather conditions could become more frequent and/or more severe as a result of climate change.
Weather conditions that delay or disrupt field work during the planting, growing, harvesting or application periods may cause agricultural customers to use different forms of nitrogen fertilizer, which may adversely affect demand for the forms that we sell or may impede farmers from applying our fertilizers until the following application period, resulting in lower seasonal demand for our products.
Adverse weather conditions during or following harvest may delay or eliminate opportunities to apply fertilizer in the fall. Weather can also have an adverse effect on crop yields, which could lower the income of growers and impair their ability to purchase fertilizer from our customers. Adverse weather conditions could also impact transportation of fertilizer, which could disrupt our ability to deliver our products to customers on a timely basis. Our quarterly financial results can vary significantly from one year to the next due to weather-related shifts in fertilizer applications, planting schedules and purchasing patterns. Over the longer-term, changes in weather patterns may shift the periods of demand for products and even the regions to which our products are distributed, which could require us to evolve our distribution system.
In addition, we use the North American waterway system extensively to ship products from some of our manufacturing facilities to our distribution facilities and our customers. We also export nitrogen fertilizer products via seagoing vessels from deep-water docking facilities at certain of our manufacturing sites on the U.S. river system through the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Therefore, persistent significant changes in river or ocean water levels (either up or down, such as a result of flooding, drought or climate change, for example), may require changes to our operating and distribution activities and/or significant capital improvements to our facilities. For example, recent low water levels on the U.S. river system and in the Panama Canal have delayed shipping in these locations, resulting in an increase in shipping costs.
Weather conditions or, in certain cases, weather forecasts, also can disrupt our operations and can affect the price of natural gas, the principal raw material used to make our nitrogen products. Colder and/or longer than normal winters and warmer than normal summers increase the demand for natural gas for residential and industrial use and for power generation, which can increase the cost and/or decrease the availability of natural gas. In addition, adverse weather events, such as storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods, not only can cause loss of power or other impacts to our facilities or damage to or delays in logistics capabilities disrupting our operations, but also can impact the supply of natural gas and utilities and cause prices to rise.
All of the adverse weather conditions described above, including those impacting our customers and our operations, such as the physical risk from storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods could become more frequent and/or more severe as a result of climate change. Our Donaldsonville and Waggaman complexes are located in an area of the United States that experiences a relatively high level of hurricane or high wind activity and several of our complexes are located in areas that experience extreme weather events. In the last several years, there has been an increase in the frequency and severity of adverse weather conditions, including in the geographic areas where we have operations. Any significant adverse weather event or combination of adverse weather events could decrease demand for our fertilizer products, increase the cost of natural gas or materially disrupt our operationsany of which could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
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Our operating results fluctuate due to seasonality. Our inability to predict future seasonal fertilizer demand accurately could result in our having excess inventory, potentially at costs in excess of market value.
The fertilizer business is seasonal. The degree of seasonality of our business can change significantly from year to year due to conditions in the agricultural industry and other factors. The strongest demand for our products in North America occurs during the spring planting season, with a second period of strong demand following the fall harvest. In contrast, we and other fertilizer producers generally manufacture and distribute products throughout the year. As a result, we and/or our customers generally build inventories during the low demand periods of the year to ensure timely product availability during the peak demand periods. Seasonality is greatest for ammonia due to the short application seasons and the limited ability of our customers and their customers to store significant quantities of this product. The seasonality of fertilizer demand generally results in our sales volumes and net sales being the highest during the spring and our working capital requirements to build inventory being the highest just prior to the start of the spring planting season.
If seasonal demand is less than we expect, we may be left with excess inventory that will have to be stored (in which case our results of operations would be negatively affected by any related increased storage costs) or liquidated (in which case the selling price could be below our production, procurement and storage costs). The risks associated with excess inventory and product shortages are exacerbated by the volatility of nitrogen fertilizer prices, the constraints of our storage capacity, and the relatively brief periods during which farmers can apply nitrogen fertilizers. If prices for our products rapidly decrease, we may be subject to inventory write-downs, adversely affecting our operating results.
A change in the volume of products that our customers purchase on a forward basis, or the percentage of our sales volume that is sold to our customers on a forward basis, could increase our exposure to fluctuations in our profit margins and working capital and materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We offer our customers the opportunity to purchase products from us on a forward basis at prices and delivery dates we propose. Under our forward sales programs, customers generally make an initial cash down payment at the time of order and pay the remaining portion of the contract sales value in advance of the shipment date. Forward sales improve our liquidity by reducing our working capital needs due to the cash payments received from customers in advance of shipment of the product and allow us to improve our production scheduling and planning and the utilization of our manufacturing and distribution assets.
Any cash payments received in advance from customers in connection with forward sales are reflected on our consolidated balance sheets as a current liability until the related orders are shipped, which can take up to several months.
We believe the ability to purchase products on a forward basis is most appealing to our customers during periods of generally increasing prices for nitrogen fertilizers. Our customers may be less willing or even unwilling to purchase products on a forward basis during periods of generally decreasing or stable prices or during periods of relatively high fertilizer prices due to the expectation of lower prices in the future. In addition, our customers may be unwilling to purchase products on a forward basis due to their limited capital resources. Fixing the selling prices of our products, often months in advance of their ultimate delivery to customers, typically causes our reported selling prices and margins to differ from spot market prices and margins available at the time of shipment. In periods of rising fertilizer prices, selling our nitrogen fertilizers on a forward basis may result in lower profit margins than if we had not sold fertilizer on a forward basis.
Operational Risks
Our operations are dependent upon raw materials and utilities provided by third parties, and any delay or interruption in the delivery of raw materials or utilities may adversely affect our business.
We use raw materials, primarily natural gas, and utilities, such as electricity, in the manufacture of our nitrogen products. We purchase raw materials and utilities from third party suppliers. Our natural gas is transported by pipeline to our facilities by third party transportation providers or through the use of facilities owned by third parties. Delays or interruptions in the delivery of raw materials and utilities may be caused by, among other things, extreme weather or natural disasters, unscheduled downtime, labor difficulties or shortages, insolvency of our suppliers or their inability to meet existing contractual arrangements, deliberate sabotage and terrorist incidents, unplanned maintenance or mechanical failures. In addition, the transport of natural gas by pipeline is subject to additional risks, including delays or interruptions caused by capacity constraints, leaks or ruptures. Any delay or interruption in the delivery of raw materials or utilities, even for a limited period, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
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Our transportation and distribution activities rely on third party providers and are subject to environmental, safety and regulatory oversight. This exposes us to risks and uncertainties beyond our control that may adversely affect our operations and exposes us to additional liability.
We rely on natural gas pipelines to transport raw materials to our manufacturing facilities. In addition, we rely on railroad, barge, truck, vessel and pipeline companies to coordinate and deliver finished products to our distribution system and to ship finished products to our customers. We also lease rail cars in order to ship finished products. These transportation operations, equipment and services are subject to various hazards and other sources of disruption, including adverse operating conditions on the inland waterway system or on the seas with respect to oceangoing vessels, extreme weather conditions, system failures, unscheduled downtime, labor difficulties or shortages, shutdowns, delays, accidents such as spills and derailments, vessel groundings and other accidents and operating hazards. Additionally, due to the aging infrastructure of certain rail lines, bridges, roadways, pipelines, river locks, and equipment that our third party service providers utilize, we may experience delays in both the receipt of raw materials or the shipment of finished product while repairs, maintenance or replacement activities are conducted. Also, certain third party service providers, such as railroads, have from time to time experienced service delays or shutdowns due to capacity constraints in their systems, operational and maintenance difficulties, blockades, organized labor strikes, weather or safety-related embargoes and delays, and other events, which could impact the shipping of our products and cause disruption in our operations and supply chain.
These transportation operations, equipment and services are also subject to environmental, safety, and regulatory oversight. Due to concerns related to accidents, discharges or other releases of hazardous substances, terrorism or the potential use of fertilizers as explosives, governmental entities could implement new or more stringent regulatory requirements affecting the transportation of raw materials or finished products.
If shipping of our products is delayed or we are unable to obtain raw materials as a result of these transportation companies’ failure to operate properly, or if new and more stringent regulatory requirements were implemented affecting transportation operations or equipment, or if there were significant increases in the cost of these services or equipment, our revenues and cost of operations could be adversely affected. In addition, increases in our transportation costs, or changes in such costs relative to transportation costs incurred by our competitors, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
In the United States and Canada, the railroad industry continues various efforts to limit the railroads’ potential liability stemming from the transportation of Toxic Inhalation Hazard materials, such as the anhydrous ammonia we transport to and from our manufacturing and distribution facilities. For example, various railroads shift liability to shippers by contract, purport to shift liability to shippers by tariff, or otherwise seek to require shippers to indemnify and defend the railroads from and against liabilities (including in negligence, strict liability, or statutory liability) that may arise from certain acts or omissions of the railroads, third parties that may have insufficient resources, or the Company or from unknown causes or acts of god. These initiatives could materially and adversely affect our operating expenses and potentially our ability to transport anhydrous ammonia and increase our liability for releases of our anhydrous ammonia while in the care, custody and control of the railroads, third parties or us, for which our insurance may be insufficient or unavailable. New or more stringent regulatory requirements also could be implemented affecting the equipment used to ship our raw materials or finished products. Restrictions on service, increases in transportation costs, or changes in such costs relative to transportation costs incurred by our competitors, and any railroad industry initiatives that may impact our ability to transport our products, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We are reliant on a limited number of key facilities.
Our nitrogen manufacturing facilities are located at nine separate nitrogen complexes, the largest of which is the Donaldsonville complex, which represented approximately 40% of our ammonia production capacity as of December 31, 2023. The suspension of operations at any of these complexes could adversely affect our ability to produce our products and fulfill our commitments, and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Operational disruptions could occur for many reasons, including natural disasters, weather, unplanned maintenance and other manufacturing problems, disease, strikes or other labor unrest or transportation interruptions. For example, our Donaldsonville and Waggaman complexes are located in an area of the United States that experiences extreme weather events, including a relatively high level of hurricane or high wind activity, and several of our other complexes are also located in areas that experience extreme weather events. Extreme weather events, including temperature extremes, depending on their severity and location, have the potential not only to damage our facilities and disrupt our operations, but also to affect adversely the shipping and distribution of our products. Moreover, our facilities may be subject to failure of equipment that may be difficult to replace or have long delivery lead times, due in part to a limited number of suppliers, and could result in operational disruptions.
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We are subject to risks relating to our information technology systems, and any technology disruption or cybersecurity incident could negatively affect our operations.
We rely on internal and third-party information technology and computer control systems in many aspects of our business, including internal and external communications, the management of our accounting, financial and supply chain functions and plant operations. If we do not allocate and effectively manage the resources necessary to build, implement and sustain the proper technology infrastructure, we could be subject to transaction errors, inaccurate financial reporting, processing inefficiencies, the loss of customers, business disruptions, or the loss of or damage to our confidential business information due to a security breach. In addition, our information technology systems may be damaged, disrupted or shut down due to attacks by computer hackers, computer viruses, employee error or malfeasance, power outages, hardware failures, telecommunication or utility failures, catastrophes or other unforeseen events, and in any such circumstances our system redundancy and other disaster recovery planning may be ineffective or inadequate. Security breaches of our systems (or the systems of our customers, suppliers or other business partners) could result in the misappropriation, destruction or unauthorized disclosure of confidential information or personal data belonging to us or to our employees, business partners, customers or suppliers, and may subject us to legal liability.
As with most large systems, our information technology systems (and those of our suppliers) have in the past been, and in the future likely will be, subject to computer viruses, malicious codes, unauthorized access and other cyberattacks, and we expect the sophistication and frequency of such attacks to continue to increase. To date, we are not aware of any significant impact on our operations or financial results from such attempts; however, unauthorized access or other types of cyberattacks could disrupt our business operations, result in the loss of assets, and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, or results of operations. Any of the attacks, breaches or other disruptions or damage described above could: interrupt our operations at one or more sites; delay production and shipments; result in the theft of our and our customers’ intellectual property and trade secrets; damage customer and business partner relationships and our reputation; result in legal claims and proceedings, liability and penalties under privacy or other laws, or increased costs for security and remediation; or raise concerns regarding our accounting for transactions. Each of these consequences could have an adverse effect on our business, reputation and our financial statements, some of which could be material.
Our business involves the use, storage, and transmission of information about our employees, customers, and suppliers. The protection of such information, as well as our proprietary information, is critical to us. The regulatory environment surrounding information security and privacy is increasingly demanding, with frequent imposition of new requirements and changes to existing requirements. Breaches of our security measures or the accidental loss, inadvertent disclosure, or unapproved dissemination of proprietary information or sensitive or confidential data about us or our employees, customers or suppliers, including the potential loss or disclosure of such information or data as a result of fraud, trickery, or other forms of deception, could expose us or our employees, customers, suppliers or other individuals or entities affected to a risk of loss or misuse of this information, which could ultimately result in litigation and potential legal and financial liability. These events could also damage our reputation or otherwise harm our business.
Acts of terrorism and regulations to combat terrorism could negatively affect our business.
Like other companies with major industrial facilities, we may be targets of terrorist activities. Many of our plants and facilities store significant quantities of ammonia and other materials that can be dangerous if mishandled. Any damage to infrastructure facilities, such as electric generation, transmission and distribution facilities, or injury to employees, who could be direct targets or indirect casualties of an act of terrorism, may affect our operations. Any disruption of our ability to produce or distribute our products could result in a significant decrease in revenues and significant additional costs to replace, repair or insure our assets, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Due to concerns related to terrorism or the potential use of certain nitrogen products as explosives, we are subject to various security laws and regulations. In the United States, these security laws include the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 and the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (although this legislation is currently expired as Congress works to reauthorize it). In addition, President Obama issued in 2013 Executive Order 13650 Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security to improve chemical facility safety in coordination with owners and operators. Governmental entities could implement new or impose more stringent regulations affecting the security of our plants, terminals and warehouses or the transportation and use of fertilizers and other nitrogen products. These regulations could result in higher operating costs or limitations on the sale of our products and could result in significant unanticipated costs, lower revenues and reduced profit margins. We manufacture and sell certain nitrogen products that can be used as explosives. It is possible that governmental entities in the United States or elsewhere could impose additional limitations on the use, sale or distribution of nitrogen products, thereby limiting our ability to manufacture or sell those products, or that illicit use of our products could result in liability for us.
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We are subject to risks associated with international operations.
Our international business operations are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including difficulties and costs associated with complying with a wide variety of complex laws, treaties and regulations; unexpected changes in regulatory environments; currency fluctuations; tax rates that may exceed those in the United States; earnings that may be subject to withholding requirements; and the imposition of tariffs, exchange controls or other restrictions.
Changes in governmental trade policies can lead to the imposition of new taxes, levies, duties, tariffs or quotas affecting agricultural commodities, fertilizer or industrial products. These can alter or impact costs, trade flows, demand for our products, access to raw materials and other supplies, and regional supply and demand balances for our products.
Our principal reporting currency is the U.S. dollar and our business operations and investments outside the United States increase our risk related to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates. The main currencies to which we are exposed, besides the U.S. dollar, are the Canadian dollar, the British pound and the euro. These exposures may change over time as business practices evolve and economic conditions change. We may selectively reduce some foreign currency exchange rate risk by, among other things, requiring contracted purchases of our products to be settled in, or indexed to, the U.S. dollar or a currency freely convertible into U.S. dollars, or hedging through foreign currency derivatives. These efforts, however, may not be effective and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We are subject to anti-corruption laws and regulations and economic sanctions programs in various jurisdictions, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, the United Kingdom Bribery Act 2010, the Canadian Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act; economic sanctions programs administered by the United Nations (UN), the EU and the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury; and regulations under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010. As a result of doing business internationally, we are exposed to a risk of violating anti-corruption laws and sanctions regulations applicable in those countries where we, our partners or our agents operate. Violations of anti-corruption and sanctions laws and regulations are punishable by civil penalties, including fines, denial of export privileges, injunctions, asset seizures, debarment from government contracts (and termination of existing contracts) and revocations or restrictions of licenses, as well as criminal fines and imprisonment. The violation of applicable laws by our employees, consultants, agents or partners could subject us to penalties and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We are subject to antitrust and competition laws in various countries throughout the world. We cannot predict how these laws or their interpretation, administration and enforcement will change over time. Changes in antitrust laws globally, or in their interpretation, administration or enforcement, may limit our existing or future operations and growth.
Financial Risks
Our operations and the production and handling of our products involve significant risks and hazards. We are not fully insured against all potential hazards and risks incident to our business. Therefore, our insurance coverage may not adequately cover our losses.
Our operations are subject to hazards inherent in the manufacture, transportation, storage and distribution of chemical products, including ammonia, which is highly toxic and can be corrosive, and ammonium nitrate, which is explosive. These hazards include: explosions; fires; extreme weather and natural disasters; train derailments, collisions, vessel groundings and other transportation and maritime incidents; leaks and ruptures involving storage tanks, pipelines and rail cars; spills, discharges and releases of toxic or hazardous substances or gases; deliberate sabotage and terrorist incidents; mechanical failures; unscheduled plant downtime; labor difficulties and other risks. Some of these hazards can cause bodily injury and loss of life, severe damage to or destruction of property and equipment and environmental damage, and may result in suspension of operations for an extended period of time and/or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties and liabilities.
Our exposure to these risks and hazards is exemplified by a fire and explosion that occurred at a fertilizer storage and distribution facility in West, Texas, in 2013. The fire and explosion resulted in 15 fatalities and claims of injuries to approximately 200 people, and damaged or destroyed a number of homes and buildings around the facility. We did not own or operate the facility or directly sell our products to the facility, but products that we manufactured and sold to others were delivered to the facility and may have been stored at the facility at the time of the incident. We were named as defendants along with other companies in lawsuits, in which the claims against us have since been resolved, alleging various theories of negligence, strict liability, and breach of warranty in connection with the incident.
We maintain property, business interruption, casualty and liability insurance policies, but we are not fully insured against all potential hazards and risks incident to our business. If we were to incur significant liability for which we were not fully insured, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. We are
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subject to various self-insured retentions, deductibles and limits under these insurance policies. The policies also contain exclusions and conditions that could have a material adverse impact on our ability to receive indemnification thereunder. Our policies are generally renewed annually. As a result of market conditions, our premiums, self-insured retentions and deductibles for certain insurance policies can increase substantially and, in some instances, certain insurance may become unavailable or available only for reduced amounts of coverage. In addition, significantly increased costs could lead us to decide to reduce, or possibly eliminate, coverage. There can be no assurance that we will be able to buy and maintain insurance with adequate limits and reasonable pricing terms and conditions.
Our indebtedness could adversely affect our cash flow, prevent us from fulfilling our obligations and impair our ability to pursue or achieve other business objectives.
As of December 31, 2023, we had approximately $3.0 billion of total funded indebtedness, consisting primarily of unsecured senior notes with varying maturity dates between 2026 and 2044, or approximately 26% of our total capitalization (total debt plus total equity), and an additional $750 million of unsecured senior borrowing availability (reflecting no outstanding borrowings and no outstanding letters of credit) for general corporate purposes under our revolving credit agreement (the Revolving Credit Agreement). Our debt service obligations will have an impact on our earnings and cash flow for so long as the indebtedness is outstanding.
Our indebtedness could, as a result of our debt service obligations or through the operation of the financial and other restrictive covenants to which we are subject under the agreements and instruments governing that indebtedness and otherwise, have important consequences. For example, it could:
make it more difficult for us to pay or refinance our debts as they become due during adverse economic and industry conditions because any related decrease in revenues could cause us not to have sufficient cash flows from operations to make our scheduled debt payments;
cause us to be less able to take advantage of significant business opportunities, such as acquisition opportunities, and to react to changes in market or industry conditions;
cause us to use a portion of our cash flow from operations for debt service, reducing the availability of cash to fund working capital and capital expenditures, and other business activities;
cause us to be more vulnerable to general adverse economic and industry conditions;
expose us to the risk of increased interest rates because certain of our borrowings, including borrowings under the Revolving Credit Agreement, could be at variable rates of interest;
make us more leveraged than some of our competitors, which could place us at a competitive disadvantage;
restrict our ability to pay dividends on our common stock or utilize excess cash to repurchase shares of our common stock;
limit our ability to borrow additional amounts to fund working capital, capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes; and
result in our credit ratings being downgraded, which could increase the cost of further borrowings.
We expect to consider options to refinance our outstanding indebtedness from time to time. Our ability to obtain any financing, whether through the issuance of new debt securities or otherwise, and the terms of any such financing are dependent on, among other things, our financial condition, financial market conditions within our industry and generally, credit ratings and numerous other factors, including factors beyond our control. Consequently, in the event that we need to access the credit markets, including to refinance our debt, there can be no assurance that we will be able to obtain financing on acceptable terms or within an acceptable timeframe, if at all. An inability to obtain financing with acceptable terms when needed could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
The terms of our existing indebtedness allow us to incur significant additional debt. If we incur additional indebtedness, the risks that we face as a result of our leverage could intensify. If our financial condition or operating results deteriorate, our relations with our creditors, including the holders of our outstanding debt securities, the lenders under the Revolving Credit Agreement and our suppliers, may be materially and adversely affected.
A failure to satisfy the financial maintenance covenant under the Revolving Credit Agreement or a breach of the covenants under any of the agreements governing our indebtedness could limit the borrowing availability under the Revolving Credit Agreement or result in an event of default under such agreements.
Our ability to comply with the covenants in the agreements and instruments governing our indebtedness, including the consolidated net leverage ratio maintenance covenant contained in the Revolving Credit Agreement, will depend upon our future performance and various other factors, such as market prices for our nitrogen products, natural gas prices and other business, competitive and regulatory factors, many of which are beyond our control. We may not be able to maintain compliance with all of these covenants. In that event, we may not be able to access the borrowing availability under the
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Revolving Credit Agreement and we would need to seek an amendment to our debt agreements or would need to refinance our indebtedness. There can be no assurance that we can obtain future amendments or waivers of our debt agreements and instruments, or refinance our debt, and, even if we were able to do so, such relief might only last for a limited period, potentially necessitating additional amendments, waivers or refinancings. Any noncompliance by us with the covenants under our debt agreements and instruments could result in an event of default under those debt agreements and instruments. An event of default under an agreement or instrument governing any of our indebtedness may allow our creditors to accelerate the related debt and may result in the acceleration of any other debt to which a cross-acceleration or cross-default provision applies. If our lenders or holders of our debt securities accelerate the repayment of borrowings, we may be forced to liquidate certain assets to repay all or part of our indebtedness, which could materially and adversely impair our business operations. An event of default under the Revolving Credit Agreement would permit the lenders thereunder to terminate all commitments to extend further credit under the Revolving Credit Agreement. In the event our creditors accelerate the repayment of our indebtedness, we cannot assure that we would have sufficient assets to make such repayment.
Potential future downgrades of our credit ratings could adversely affect our access to capital, cause vendors to change their credit terms for doing business with us, and could otherwise have a material adverse effect on us.

As of February 12, 2024, our corporate credit rating by S&P Global Ratings is BBB with a stable outlook; our corporate credit rating by Moody’s Investor Services, Inc. is Baa3 with a positive outlook; and our corporate credit rating with Fitch Ratings, Inc. is BBB with a stable outlook. These ratings and our current credit condition affect, among other things, our ability to access new capital, especially debt, as well as the payment terms that vendors are willing to provide us. Negative changes in these ratings may result in more stringent covenants and higher interest rates under the terms of any new debt, and could cause vendors to shorten our payment terms, require us to pay in advance for materials or services, or provide letters of credit, security, or other credit enhancements in order to do business with us.
Tax matters, including changes in tax laws or rates, adverse determinations by taxing authorities and imposition of new taxes could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
We are subject to taxes in the United States, where most of our operations are located, and in several foreign jurisdictions where our subsidiaries are organized or conduct business. Tax laws or rates in the various jurisdictions in which we operate may be subject to significant change. Our future effective tax rate could also be affected by changes in our mix of earnings from jurisdictions with differing statutory tax rates and tax systems, changes in valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities or changes in tax laws or their interpretation.
We are also subject to regular reviews, examinations and audits by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other taxing authorities in jurisdictions where we conduct business. Although we believe our tax estimates are reasonable, if a taxing authority disagrees with the positions we have taken, we could face additional tax liabilities, including interest and penalties. There can be no assurance that payment of such additional amounts upon final adjudication of any disputes will not have a material impact on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We have used the cash we generate outside the United States primarily to fund development of our business in non-U.S. jurisdictions. If the funds generated by our U.S. business are not sufficient to meet our need for cash in the United States or if cash generated outside the United States exceeds the needs of such non-U.S. operations, we may repatriate a portion of our future international earnings to the United States. Under the tax laws of the foreign countries in which we operate, those international earnings could be subject to withholding taxes when repatriated; therefore, the repatriation of those earnings could result in an increase in our worldwide effective tax rate and an increase in our use of cash to pay these taxes.
We also need to comply with other new, evolving or revised tax laws and regulations. The enactment of, or increases in, carbon taxes, tariffs or value added taxes, or other changes in the application of existing taxes, in markets in which we are currently active, or may be active in the future, or on specific products that we sell or with which our products compete, could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Our business is subject to risks involving derivatives and the risk that our hedging activities might not prevent losses.
From time to time, we utilize natural gas derivatives to hedge our financial exposure to the price volatility of natural gas, the principal raw material we use in the production of nitrogen-based products. We may use natural gas futures, swaps and option contracts traded in over-the-counter markets or on exchanges. In addition, from time to time, we use fixed-price, physical purchase and sales contracts to hedge our exposure to natural gas price volatility. In order to manage our exposure to changes in foreign currency exchange rates, we may from time to time use foreign currency derivatives (primarily forward exchange contracts).
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Our use of derivatives can result in volatility in reported earnings due to the unrealized mark-to-market adjustments that occur from changes in the value of the derivatives that do not qualify for, or to which we do not apply, hedge accounting. To the extent that our derivative positions lose value, we may be required to post collateral with our counterparties, adversely affecting our liquidity.
Hedging arrangements are imperfect and unhedged risks will always exist. In addition, our hedging activities may themselves give rise to various risks that could adversely affect us. For example, we are exposed to counterparty credit risk when our derivatives are in a net asset position. The counterparties to our derivatives are multi-national commercial banks, major financial institutions or large energy companies.
Our liquidity could be negatively impacted by a counterparty default on settlement of one or more of our derivative financial instruments or by the triggering of any cross default provisions or credit support requirements against us. Additionally, the International Swaps and Derivative Association master netting arrangements for most of our derivative instruments contain credit-risk-related contingent features, such as cross default provisions and credit support requirements. In the event of certain defaults or a credit ratings downgrade, our counterparty may request early termination and net settlement of certain derivative trades or may require us to collateralize derivatives in a net liability position.
At other times we may not utilize derivatives or derivative strategies to hedge certain risks or to reduce the financial exposure of price volatility. As a result, we may not prevent certain material adverse impacts that could have been mitigated through the use of derivative strategies.
Environmental and Regulatory Risks
We are subject to numerous environmental, health and safety laws, regulations and permitting requirements, as well as potential environmental liabilities, which may require us to make substantial expenditures or modify business plans.
We are subject to numerous environmental, health and safety laws and regulations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the EU, Trinidad and other locations, including laws and regulations relating to the generation and handling of hazardous substances and wastes; the introduction of new chemicals or substances into a market; the cleanup of hazardous substance releases; the discharge of regulated substances to land, air or water; and the demolition and cleanup of existing plant sites upon permanent closure. In the United States, these laws include the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Toxic Substances Control Act and various other federal, state, provincial, local and international laws. In November 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act reinstated and doubled the Superfund tax on chemicals, including ammonia and nitric acid. These taxes were put in place from July 1, 2022 through December 31, 2031 and apply to both the domestic production and import of ammonia and nitric acid products, except to the extent such products are used in fertilizer or animal feed, used as fuel or exported.
As a producer of nitrogen products working with hazardous substances, our business faces risks of spills, discharges or other releases of those substances into the environment. Certain environmental laws, including CERCLA, impose joint and several liability, without regard to fault, for cleanup costs on persons who have disposed of or released hazardous substances into the environment. Given the nature of our business, we have incurred, are incurring currently, and are likely to incur periodically in the future, liabilities under CERCLA and other environmental cleanup laws at our current facilities or facilities previously owned or operated by us or other acquired businesses, adjacent or nearby third-party facilities or offsite disposal locations. The costs associated with future cleanup activities that we may be required to conduct or finance may be material. Additionally, we may become liable to third parties for damages, including personal injury and property damage, resulting from the disposal or release of hazardous substances into the environment.
Violations of environmental, health and safety laws can result in substantial penalties, court orders to install pollution-control equipment, civil and criminal sanctions, permit revocations and facility shutdowns. Environmental, health and safety laws change regularly and have tended to become more stringent over time. As a result, we have not always been and may not always be in compliance with all environmental, health and safety laws and regulations. We may be subject to more stringent enforcement of existing or new environmental, health and safety laws in the future. Additionally, future environmental, health and safety laws and regulations or reinterpretation of or changes to current laws and regulations may require us to make substantial expenditures or modify business plans. Our costs to comply with, or any liabilities under, these laws and regulations could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
From time to time, our production, distribution or storage of anhydrous ammonia and other hazardous or regulated substances has resulted in accidental releases that have temporarily disrupted our operations and/or resulted in liability for administrative penalties, cleanup costs, and/or claims for personal injury. To date, our costs to resolve these liabilities have not
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been material. However, we could incur significant costs if our liability coverage is not sufficient to pay for all or a large part of any judgments against us, or if our insurance carrier refuses coverage for these losses.
We hold numerous environmental and other governmental permits and approvals authorizing operations at each of our facilities. Expansion or modification of our operations is predicated upon securing necessary environmental or other permits or approvals, and in some cases, the ability of our partners, lessors and other third-party providers, as applicable, to secure such permits or approvals. More stringent environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, a reinterpretation of or changes to current laws and regulations, or community opposition to permits and approvals could make it more difficult to obtain necessary governmental permits (including renewals of our existing permits) or approvals. In addition, a focus on the cumulative impact of industrial operations on minority, lower income, and other historically underrepresented and/or disadvantaged communities could impact decisions relating to the issuance of new or renewal of existing permits to the extent that our operations are located in the vicinity of such communities. A decision by a government agency to deny or delay issuing a new or renewed regulatory permit or approval, or to revoke or substantially modify an existing permit or approval, or a determination that we have violated a law or permit could have a material adverse effect on our ability to continue operations at our facilities and on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Future regulatory or legislative restrictions on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the jurisdictions in which we operate or conduct business could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our production facilities emit GHGs, such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, and natural gas, a fossil fuel that releases methane when extracted from the earth, is a primary raw material used in our nitrogen production process. Because conventional ammonia production generates CO2 as an unavoidable chemical byproduct, ammonia production globally is considered an emissions- and energy-intensive industry. We are subject to GHG regulations in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. In the United States, our existing facilities, which are considered large emitters of GHGs, currently are only subject to GHG emissions reporting obligations. New facilities that we build, or existing facilities that we modify in the future, could also be subject to GHG emissions standards included in their air permits.
Our manufacturing plants in the Alberta and Ontario provinces of Canada are subject to regulations that impose a price on excess GHG emissions. These regulations establish carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions standards applicable to our facilities in terms of emissions per unit of production, with each province using different formulas for establishing these intensity limits and changes in these limits over time (and federal law applying if provincial plans are not considered sufficiently stringent). If CO2e emissions exceed the applicable limits, the excess emissions must be offset, either through obtaining qualifying emission credits or offsets or by making a payment for each ton of excess emissions. Pursuant to Canadian regulations, emissions are subject to an annual increase in price on CO2e through 2030, and these GHG regulations became more stringent effective January 1, 2023 and became subject to an increasing carbon price of CAD $80/tonne on January 1, 2024.
Increasing concern over the effects of climate change is driving countries to establish ever more ambitious GHG reduction targets. Approximately 200 countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the members of the EU, have joined the Paris Agreement, an international agreement intended to provide a framework pursuant to which the parties to the agreement will attempt to hold the increase in global average temperatures to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels. The United States, Canada and the United Kingdom have also announced national targets to reduce GHG emissions in each case by 40% or more by 2030 as compared to 2005 levels and have led or joined other initiatives to spur faster reductions related to carbon dioxide, methane and other GHGs.
In addition, the Biden administration has issued several executive orders focused on climate change to promote more active management of these issues across the executive branch, including by the EPA and the Departments of Energy, Agriculture, Interior, Transportation and Treasury, and has issued proposed and final regulations related to methane and other GHG reduction efforts. In late December 2023, the Internal Revenue Service issued proposed guidance on the 45V hydrogen production tax credit created by the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Final implementation of the IRA may impact the market for green and low-carbon hydrogen and associated ammonia products. In addition, pursuant to the IRA, the EPA will begin to assess a methane fee on certain oil and natural gas facilities for methane emissions that exceed a designated threshold. This fee will apply to methane emissions from 2024 onward, and, under the proposed rules issued by the EPA in January 2024, will be assessed beginning in 2025. In May 2023, the EPA proposed new regulations requiring certain types of power plants to change their operations and/or install emissions control equipment to reduce GHG emissions. While these proposed regulations do not apply to us, they could inform future EPA regulations that may apply to us and require us to reduce our GHG emissions.
The EU finalized its overall carbon border adjustment mechanism in May 2023. During the interim phase, covering imports, including nitrogenous fertilizers, entering the EU from the fourth quarter of 2023 through the fourth quarter of 2025,
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importers must file quarterly reports on the emissions intensity of covered products. For imports that enter the EU starting in 2026, charges will be required for emissions over certain thresholds, with the EU still to set forth additional details. Other governments are also considering border adjustment mechanisms for carbon intensive products. The imposition of any carbon border adjustment taxes may impact investment and trade flows, which could adversely impact our business.
More stringent GHG regulations, if they are enacted, are likely to have a significant impact on us, because our production facilities emit GHGs such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide and because natural gas, a fossil fuel that releases methane when extracted from the earth, is a primary raw material used in our nitrogen production process. Regulation of GHGs may require us to make changes in our operating activities that would increase our operating costs, reduce our efficiency, limit our output, require us to make capital improvements to our facilities, increase our costs for or limit the availability of energy, raw materials or transportation, or otherwise materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Changes could also be made to tax or other regulatory policies related to decarbonization, electricity generation or clean energy that could impact our business and investment decisions. In addition, to the extent that GHG restrictions are not imposed in countries where our competitors operate or are less stringent than regulations that may be imposed in the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom, our competitors may have cost or other competitive advantages over us.
Strategic Risks
The market for green and low-carbon (blue) ammonia may be slow to develop, may not develop to the size expected or may not develop at all. Moreover, we may not be successful in the development and implementation of our green and low-carbon ammonia projects in a timely or economic manner, or at all, due to a number of factors, many of which are beyond our control.
The market for green and low-carbon ammonia is developing and evolving, may not develop to the size or at the rate we expect, and is dependent in part on the developing market for green and low-carbon hydrogen, for which ammonia can serve as a transport and storage mechanism. These markets are heavily influenced by demand for clean energy, technology evolution and federal, state and local government laws, regulations and policies concerning carbon emissions, renewable electricity, clean energy, and corporate accountability in the United States and abroad. These factors may also affect the market criteria for green and low-carbon ammonia, including the degree of reduction of direct GHG emissions and the requirements of renewable electricity.
We believe the demand for green and low-carbon ammonia could take several years to materialize and then ten or more years to fully develop and mature, and we cannot be certain that this market or the market for green and low-carbon hydrogen will grow to the size or at the rate we expect or at all. Hydrogen currently accounts for less than 1% of the world’s energy needs.
The recognition and acceptance of green and low-carbon ammonia as a transport and storage mechanism for green and low-carbon hydrogen, the use of green and low-carbon ammonia as a fuel in its own right, the use of green and low-carbon ammonia as a fertilizer, and the development and growth of end market demand and applications for green and low-carbon hydrogen and green and low-carbon ammonia are uncertain and dependent on a number of factors outside of our control. These factors include, among others, the extent to which and rate at which cost competitive global renewable energy capacity increases, the pricing of traditional and alternative sources of energy, the realization of technological improvements required to increase the efficiency and lower the costs of production of green and low-carbon ammonia, the regulatory environment, the rate and extent of infrastructure investment and development which may be affected by the relevant parties’ ability to obtain permits for these investments, the availability of tax benefits and other incentives, the implementation of policy in foreign jurisdictions providing economic support for or otherwise mandating decarbonization and our ability to provide green and low-carbon ammonia offerings cost-effectively. In addition, further development of alternative decarbonization technologies may result in viable alternatives to the use of low-carbon ammonia for many potential decarbonization applications, resulting in lower than expected market demand growth relative to our current expectations. If a sustainable market for green or low-carbon ammonia or hydrogen fails to develop, develops more slowly than we anticipate, or develops in a way that is not viable to serve with our assets and capabilities, we may decide not to implement, or may not be successful in implementing, one or more elements of our multi-year strategic plan.
Our clean energy strategy also depends on the realization of certain technical improvements required to increase the efficiency and lower the costs of production of green and low-carbon ammonia. Over time, as we seek to convert additional existing facilities to green and low-carbon production and further expand our green and low-carbon ammonia production capacity, we may face operational difficulties and execution risks related to the design, development and construction. If our assumptions about the engineering and project execution requirements necessary to successfully build or convert the facility capacity that we are contemplating and to scale up to larger production quantities prove to be incorrect, we may be unable to produce substantial quantities of green or low-carbon ammonia, and the cost to construct such green and low-carbon ammonia
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facilities, or the production costs associated with the operation of such facilities, may be higher than we project. The production of low-carbon ammonia depends to a large extent upon the ability of third parties to develop class VI carbon sequestration wells and carbon dioxide transportation pipelines, which currently do not exist at large scale and are subject to a permitting process and operational risks, which may result in delays, impact viability in some or all situations, or create long-term liabilities.
Recently, many proposed green and low-carbon ammonia projects have been announced or considered, and future hydrogen, energy, or environmental/carbon policies may support development of additional nitrogen production in locations outside North America, including Europe, Australia, and the Middle East. In the event that the growth in supply of green and low-carbon ammonia and green and low-carbon hydrogen exceeds the growth in demand for those products, the resulting unfavorable supply and demand balance could lead to lower selling prices than we expect for many of our products, which could negatively affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We may not be successful in the expansion of our business.
We routinely consider possible expansions of our business, both within the United States and elsewhere. Major investments in our business, including acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures, business combination transactions or other major investments, such as our green and low-carbon ammonia projects, require significant managerial resources, the diversion of which from our other activities or opportunities may negatively affect the existing operations of our business. We may be unable to identify or successfully compete for certain acquisition targets, which may hinder or prevent us from acquiring a target or completing other transactions. The risks of any expansion of our business through investments, acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures or business combination transactions may increase due to the significant capital and other resources that we may have to commit to any such expansion, which may not be recoverable if the expansion initiative to which they were devoted is ultimately not implemented. In addition, these efforts may require capital resources that could otherwise be used for the improvement and expansion of our existing business. As a result of these and other factors, including general economic risk, we may not be able to realize our projected returns or other expected benefits from acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures, business combination transactions or other major investments. Among the risks associated with the pursuit and consummation of acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures or other major investments or business combinations are those involving:
difficulties in integrating the parties’ operations, systems, technologies, products, cultures, and personnel;
incurrence of significant transaction-related expenses;
potential integration or restructuring costs;
potential impairment charges related to the goodwill, intangible assets or other assets to which any such transaction relates, in the event that the economic benefits of such transaction prove to be less than anticipated;
other unanticipated costs associated with such transactions;
our ability to achieve operating and financial efficiencies, synergies and cost savings;
our ability to obtain the desired financial or strategic benefits from any such transaction;
the parties’ ability to retain key business relationships, including relationships with employees, customers, partners and suppliers;
potential loss of key personnel;
entry into markets or involvement with products with which we have limited current or prior experience or in which competitors may have stronger positions;
assumption of contingent liabilities, including litigation;
exposure to unanticipated liabilities, including litigation;
differences in the parties’ internal control environments, which may require significant time and resources to resolve in conformity with applicable legal and accounting standards;
increased scope, geographic diversity and complexity of our operations;
the tax effects of any such transaction; and
the potential for costly and time-consuming litigation, including stockholder lawsuits.
Moreover, legal proceedings or other risks from acquisitions and other business combinations may arise years after a transaction has been completed and may involve matters unrelated to the business acquired. For example, in 2022, we were named along with other parties in certain product liability actions relating to a product containing the herbicide paraquat, which was allegedly sold, manufactured, distributed and/or marketed by Terra Industries Inc. (Terra) before it exited such lines of business, which exit occurred more than ten years before CF Holdings acquired Terra in April 2010.
In addition, most major capital projects are dependent on the availability and performance of engineering firms, construction firms, equipment and material suppliers, transportation providers and other vendors necessary to design and implement those projects on a timely basis and on acceptable terms. Major investments such as capital improvements at our
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facilities are subject to a number of risks, any of which could prevent us from completing capital projects in a timely or economic manner or at all, including, without limitation, cost overruns, non-performance of third parties, the inability to obtain necessary permits or other permitting matters, adverse weather, defects in materials and workmanship, labor and raw material shortages, transportation constraints, changes to international trade-related policy, engineering and construction change orders, errors in design, construction or start-up, and other unforeseen difficulties.
International acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures, investments or business combinations and other international expansions of our business involve additional risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to:
the impact of particular economic, tax, currency, political, legal and regulatory risks associated with specific countries;
challenges caused by distance and by language and cultural differences;
difficulties and costs of complying with a wide variety of complex laws, treaties and regulations;
unexpected changes in regulatory environments;
political and economic instability, including the possibility for civil unrest;
nationalization of properties by foreign governments;
tax rates that may exceed those in the United States, and earnings that may be subject to withholding requirements;
the imposition of tariffs, exchange controls or other restrictions; and
the impact of currency exchange rate fluctuations.
If we finance acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures, business combination transactions or other major investments by issuing equity or convertible or other debt securities or loans, our existing stockholders may be diluted or we could face constraints under the terms of, and as a result of the repayment and debt-service obligations under, the additional indebtedness. A business combination transaction between us and another company could result in our stockholders receiving cash or shares of another entity on terms that such stockholders may not consider desirable. Moreover, the regulatory approvals associated with a business combination may result in divestitures or other changes to our business, the effects of which are difficult to predict.


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FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
From time to time, in this Annual Report on Form 10-K as well as in other written reports and oral statements, we make forward-looking statements that are not statements of historical fact and may involve a number of risks and uncertainties. These statements relate to analyses and other information that are based on forecasts of future results and estimates of amounts not yet determinable. These statements may also relate to our prospects, future developments and business strategies. We have used the words “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “will” or “would” and similar terms and phrases, including references to assumptions, to identify forward-looking statements in this document. These forward-looking statements are made based on currently available competitive, financial and economic data, our current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about the industries and markets in which we operate and management’s beliefs and assumptions concerning future events affecting us. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties and factors relating to our operations and business environment, all of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control. Therefore, our actual results may differ materially from what is expressed in or implied by any forward-looking statements. We want to caution you not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. We do not undertake any responsibility to release publicly any revisions to these forward-looking statements to take into account events or circumstances that occur after the date of this document. Additionally, we do not undertake any responsibility to provide updates regarding the occurrence of any unanticipated events which may cause actual results to differ from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in this document.
Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations are disclosed under “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Such factors include, among others:
the cyclical nature of our business and the impact of global supply and demand on our selling prices;
the global commodity nature of our nitrogen products, the conditions in the international market for nitrogen products, and the intense global competition from other producers;
conditions in the United States, Europe and other agricultural areas, including the influence of governmental policies and technological developments on the demand for our fertilizer products;
the volatility of natural gas prices in North America and the United Kingdom;
weather conditions and the impact of adverse weather events;
the seasonality of the fertilizer business;
the impact of changing market conditions on our forward sales programs;
difficulties in securing the supply and delivery of raw materials or utilities, increases in their costs or delays or interruptions in their delivery;
reliance on third party providers of transportation services and equipment;
our reliance on a limited number of key facilities;
risks associated with cybersecurity;
acts of terrorism and regulations to combat terrorism;
risks associated with international operations;
the significant risks and hazards involved in producing and handling our products against which we may not be fully insured;
our ability to manage our indebtedness and any additional indebtedness that may be incurred;
our ability to maintain compliance with covenants under our revolving credit agreement and the agreements governing our indebtedness;
downgrades of our credit ratings;
risks associated with changes in tax laws and disagreements with taxing authorities;
risks involving derivatives and the effectiveness of our risk management and hedging activities;
potential liabilities and expenditures related to environmental, health and safety laws and regulations and permitting requirements;
regulatory restrictions and requirements related to greenhouse gas emissions;
the development and growth of the market for green and low-carbon (blue) ammonia and the risks and uncertainties relating to the development and implementation of our green and low-carbon ammonia projects; and
risks associated with expansions of our business, including unanticipated adverse consequences and the significant resources that could be required.
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ITEM 1B.    UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.
None.
ITEM 1C.    CYBERSECURITY.
Cybersecurity risk management, including our processes for assessing, identifying and managing material risks from cybersecurity threats, is an integral part of our overall enterprise risk management (ERM) program. The ERM program includes an annual assessment process designed to identify risks, including those from cybersecurity threats, that could affect us and the achievement of our objectives; to understand, assess, and prioritize those risks; and to facilitate the implementation of risk management strategies and processes across the company that are responsive to the company’s risk profile, business strategies, and specific material risk exposures. The ERM program seeks to integrate consideration of risk and risk management into business decision-making throughout the company, including through the implementation of policies and procedures intended to ensure that necessary information with respect to material risks, including material risks from cybersecurity threats, is transmitted to senior executives and, as appropriate, to the Board of Directors (Board) or relevant committees. The Board regularly reviews and discusses with the key members of management responsible for management of risk the guidelines and policies governing the ERM process, the key risks identified in the ERM process, the likelihood of occurrence and the potential impact assigned to those risks by management, and the risk mitigation strategies in each instance.
The Audit Committee of the Board provides oversight in connection with management’s cybersecurity efforts. The Audit Committee receives periodic reports summarizing threat detection and mitigation plans, audits of internal controls, training and certification and other cyber priorities and initiatives, as well as timely updates from senior leaders on material incidents relating to cybersecurity. The Audit Committee also receives regular reports on the efficacy of our cybersecurity risks and related policies and procedures from our chief information officer and other members of senior management who are tasked with monitoring cybersecurity risks. Our chief information officer oversees a dedicated team of certified cybersecurity professionals, with an average of over 12 years of relevant experience.
Our cybersecurity strategy prioritizes protection, detection, analysis, and response to known, anticipated or unexpected cyber threats, effective management of cyber risks and resilience against cyber incidents. We maintain a formal cybersecurity program structured around the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework (CSF), a voluntary framework created by industry and the U.S. government to promote the protection of our infrastructure from cybersecurity risks. We contract with an external auditing firm to assess our cybersecurity controls relative to industry peers using the NIST CSF, which has five functions: identify, protect, detect, respond and recover. We consistently evaluate the threat landscape, adopting a multifaceted approach to cybersecurity risks through a zero-trust strategy focusing on prevention, detection, and mitigation, which includes the following programs and practices:
Our cybersecurity team conducts an annual review of cybersecurity risks at the ERM level, integrating significant cybersecurity risks into our overall ERM program. We remain committed to increasing investments in cybersecurity, which includes providing additional training for end-users, adopting a zero-trust methodology, identifying and safeguarding critical assets, and reinforcing monitoring and alerting capabilities. Our proactive approach involves regular testing of defenses through simulations and penetration tests, both technically and through a comprehensive review of operational policies and procedures. At the managerial level, our cybersecurity team consistently monitors alerts and holds regular meetings to discuss threat levels, trends, and remediation strategies. Additionally, we conduct periodic external penetration tests and maturity testing to assess the effectiveness of our security controls, including processes, procedures, and our readiness to face the evolving threat landscape.
We consider and assess the cybersecurity risks associated with the utilization of third-party service providers under our third-party risk management program. Pursuant to the program, we evaluate security and data privacy controls prior to sharing or authorizing the hosting of sensitive data in computing environments managed by third parties. In addition, our standard terms and conditions with third-party service providers feature contractual provisions mandating specific security protections.
Our cybersecurity incident response plan is designed to detect and address potential threats that may impact the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of our technology systems. The response plan includes coordinated processes for handling security and data privacy incidents, encompassing communication and effective response.
Our global business continuity program includes information technology disaster recovery, supporting resilience in both our business and information technology.
To date, we have not identified any risks from cybersecurity threats, including as a result of any previous cybersecurity incidents, that have materially affected or that we believe are reasonably likely to materially affect our business strategy, results
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of operations, or financial condition. We cannot, however, eliminate all risks from cybersecurity threats or provide assurances that we have not experienced an undetected cybersecurity incident. For more information about these risks, see the disclosure in Item 1A. Risk Factors under “Operational Risks—We are subject to risks relating to our information technology systems, and any technology disruption or cybersecurity incident could negatively affect our operations.”
ITEM 2.    PROPERTIES.
Information regarding our facilities and properties is included in Item 1. Business—Nitrogen Manufacturing Facilities and Item 1. Business—Storage Facilities and Other Properties.
ITEM 3.    LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.
For information on pending proceedings relating to environmental remediation matters, see Item 1. Business—Environmental, Health and Safety—CERCLA/Remediation Matters.
ITEM 4.    MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES.
Not applicable.
PART II
ITEM 5.    MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.
Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “CF.” As of February 12, 2024, there were 680 stockholders of record.
The following table sets forth share repurchases, on a trade date basis, for each of the three months of the quarter ended December 31, 2023:
 Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Period
Total
number
of shares
(or units)
purchased
 
Average
price paid
per share
(or unit)
(1)
 
Total number of
shares (or units)
purchased as part of
publicly announced
plans or programs
(2)
Maximum number (or
approximate dollar
value) of shares (or
units) that may yet be
purchased under the
plans or programs
(in thousands)
(2)
October 1, 2023 - October 31, 20231,298 
(3)
$80.27 — $2,800,052 
November 1, 2023 - November 30, 20232,870,066 
(4)
78.40 2,870,023 2,575,052 
December 1, 2023 - December 31, 2023— — — 2,575,052 
Total2,871,364  78.40 2,870,023 
__________________________________________________________________________
(1)Average price paid per share of CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (CF Holdings) common stock repurchased under the 2022 Share Repurchase Program, as defined below, is the execution price, excluding commissions paid to brokers and excise taxes.
(2)On November 2, 2022, we announced that our Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to $3 billion of CF Holdings common stock, which is effective through December 31, 2025 (the 2022 Share Repurchase Program). This share repurchase program is discussed in Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Share Repurchase Programs and in Note 20—Stockholders’ Equity, in the notes to consolidated financial statements included in Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.
(3)Represents shares withheld to pay employee tax obligations upon the lapse of restrictions on restricted stock units.
(4)Includes 43 shares withheld to pay employee tax obligations upon the lapse of restrictions on restricted stock units.

ITEM 6.    [RESERVED]
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ITEM 7.    MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.
You should read the following discussion and analysis in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and related notes included in Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data. All references to “CF Holdings,” “we,” “us,” “our” and “the Company” refer to CF Industries Holdings, Inc. and its subsidiaries, except where the context makes clear that the reference is to CF Industries Holdings, Inc. only and not its subsidiaries. All references to “CF Industries” refer to CF Industries, Inc., a 100% owned subsidiary of CF Industries Holdings, Inc. References to tons refer to short tons and references to tonnes refer to metric tons. Notes referenced in this discussion and analysis refer to the notes to consolidated financial statements that are found in Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data—Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements. For a discussion and analysis of the year ended December 31, 2022 compared to the year ended December 31, 2021, see Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations in our 2022 Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on February 23, 2023. The following is an outline of the discussion and analysis included herein:
Overview of CF Holdings
Market Conditions
Financial Executive Summary
Acquisition of Waggaman Ammonia Production Facility
Items Affecting Comparability of Results
Consolidated Results of Operations
Operating Results by Business Segment
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Critical Accounting Estimates
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
Overview of CF Holdings
Our Company
Our mission is to provide clean energy to feed and fuel the world sustainably. With our employees focused on safe and reliable operations, environmental stewardship, and disciplined capital and corporate management, we are on a path to decarbonize our ammonia production network – the world’s largest – to enable green and low-carbon hydrogen and nitrogen products for energy, fertilizer, emissions abatement, and other industrial activities. Our nitrogen manufacturing complexes in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, an extensive storage, transportation and distribution network in North America, and logistics capabilities enabling a global reach underpin our strategy to leverage our unique capabilities to accelerate the world’s transition to clean energy. Our principal customers are cooperatives, independent fertilizer distributors, traders, wholesalers and industrial users. Our core product is anhydrous ammonia (ammonia), which contains 82% nitrogen and 18% hydrogen. Our nitrogen products that are upgraded from ammonia are granular urea, urea ammonium nitrate solution (UAN) and ammonium nitrate (AN). Our other nitrogen products include diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), urea liquor, nitric acid and aqua ammonia, which are sold primarily to our industrial customers.
Our principal assets as of December 31, 2023 include:
six U.S. nitrogen manufacturing facilities, located in Donaldsonville, Louisiana (the largest nitrogen complex in the world); Sergeant Bluff, Iowa (our Port Neal complex); Yazoo City, Mississippi; Claremore, Oklahoma (our Verdigris complex); Woodward, Oklahoma; and Waggaman, Louisiana. The Waggaman facility is wholly owned by us, and the other five U.S. nitrogen manufacturing facilities are wholly owned directly or indirectly by CF Industries Nitrogen, LLC (CFN), of which we own approximately 89% and CHS Inc. (CHS) owns the remainder (see Note 19—Noncontrolling Interest for additional information on our strategic venture with CHS);
two Canadian nitrogen manufacturing facilities, located in Medicine Hat, Alberta (the largest nitrogen complex in Canada) and Courtright, Ontario;
a United Kingdom nitrogen manufacturing facility located in Billingham;
an extensive system of terminals and associated transportation equipment located primarily in the Midwestern United States; and
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a 50% interest in Point Lisas Nitrogen Limited (PLNL), an ammonia production joint venture located in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (Trinidad) that we account for under the equity method.
Our Strategy
Our strategy is to leverage our unique capabilities to accelerate the world’s transition to clean energy. We believe this strategy builds upon the Company’s leadership in ammonia production to capture emerging opportunities available to ammonia produced with a lower carbon intensity than that of ammonia produced through traditional processes. These opportunities include traditional applications in agriculture to help reduce the carbon footprint of food production and the life cycle carbon intensity of ethanol production, enabling its use for sustainable aviation fuel, among other purposes. They also include new applications, such as power generation and marine shipping, that would use the hydrogen component of the ammonia molecule for clean energy given that ammonia does not contain or emit carbon when combusted.
We execute our strategy across four dimensions: decarbonizing our existing network to accelerate the availability of low-carbon ammonia; evaluating new low-carbon ammonia capacity growth; forging partnerships to accelerate our timeline and bridge gaps in areas where we do not have expertise; and collaborating to build understanding of ammonia’s clean energy capability, safety track record and regulatory environment.
Decarbonization projects in our existing network include our green ammonia project at our Donaldsonville, Louisiana complex. Green ammonia refers to ammonia produced with hydrogen sourced through an electrolysis process that produces no carbon emissions. In April 2021, we signed an engineering and procurement contract with thyssenkrupp to supply a 20 MW alkaline water electrolysis plant to produce green hydrogen at our Donaldsonville complex. We will integrate the green hydrogen generated by the electrolysis plant into existing ammonia synthesis loops to enable the production of approximately 20,000 tons per year of green ammonia. The green hydrogen production facility is mechanically complete, and commissioning activities began in early 2024. We believe that the Donaldsonville green ammonia project will be the largest of its kind in North America at the time of its startup.
Decarbonization projects in our existing network also include the production of low-carbon ammonia. Low-carbon ammonia is ammonia produced by conventional processes but with approximately 60-98% of the process and flue gas CO2 generated by ammonia production removed through carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). We are executing a project also at our Donaldsonville complex that will enable us to produce a significant volume of low-carbon ammonia. At an estimated cost of $200 million, we are constructing a CO2 dehydration and compression facility to enable CCS at the facility. Engineering activities for the construction of the dehydration and compression unit continue to advance, all major equipment for the facility has been procured, fabrication of the CO2 compressors is proceeding, and construction activities at the Donaldsonville site are underway. Once the dehydration and compression unit is in service and sequestration is initiated, we expect that the Donaldsonville complex will have the capacity to dehydrate and compress up to 2 million tons per year of process CO2, thereby converting a portion of our existing ammonia production to low-carbon ammonia. In October 2022, we announced that we had entered into a definitive CO2 offtake agreement with ExxonMobil to transport and permanently sequester the CO2 from Donaldsonville. Start-up for the project is planned for 2025. Under current regulations, the project would be expected to qualify for tax credits under Section 45Q of the Internal Revenue Code, which provides a credit per tonne of CO2 sequestered.
Alongside these projects, we are also evaluating the construction of greenfield low-carbon ammonia capacity in Louisiana. In the fourth quarter of 2023, we and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (Mitsui) completed a front-end engineering and design (FEED) study on a greenfield steam methane reforming (SMR) ammonia facility with CCS technologies. The FEED study estimates the cost of a project with these attributes to be in the range of $3 billion, with approximately $2.5 billion allocated to the ammonia facility and CCS technologies and approximately $500 million allocated to scalable common infrastructure for the site, such as ammonia storage and vessel loading docks.
We and Mitsui are progressing two additional FEED studies focused on technologies with the potential to further reduce the carbon intensity of the proposed low-carbon ammonia facility, including a FEED study evaluating autothermal reforming (ATR) ammonia production technology and a FEED study assessing the cost and viability of adding flue gas capture to an SMR ammonia facility. We expect to complete both FEED studies in the second half of 2024.
We and Mitsui are targeting the second half of 2024 for the final investment decision on the proposed greenfield low-carbon ammonia facility. Should the companies agree to move forward, the ammonia facility would be constructed at our new Blue Point complex. We own the land for the complex, which is located on the west bank of the Mississippi river in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. Construction and commissioning of a new world-scale ammonia plant typically takes approximately four years from the time construction begins.
In addition to ongoing discussions with existing customers who have interest in forthcoming availability of low-carbon ammonia for traditional applications, we are engaged in advanced discussions regarding the supply of low-carbon ammonia for
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new applications. In the first quarter of 2023, we signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with JERA Co., Inc. (JERA), Japan’s largest energy generator, regarding the long-term supply of up to 500,000 tonnes per year of clean ammonia beginning in 2027. The execution of the MOU was the result of a supplier comparison and evaluation process for the procurement of clean ammonia that JERA initiated in February 2022 for the world’s first commercial scale ammonia co-firing operations that JERA is developing. The MOU establishes a framework for JERA and us to assess how we would best supply JERA with clean ammonia, which will be required to be produced with at least 60% lower carbon emissions than conventionally produced ammonia, under a long-term offtake agreement. We and JERA are evaluating a range of potential supply options, including JERA making an equity investment with us to develop a clean ammonia facility in Louisiana and a supplementary long-term offtake agreement.
We are also evaluating and in various stages of developing discussions and agreements with other companies for clean ammonia long-term offtake opportunities related to new applications of ammonia.
Industry Factors
We operate in a highly competitive, global industry. Our operating results are influenced by a broad range of factors, including those outlined below.
Global Supply and Demand Factors
Our products are globally traded commodities and are subject to price competition. The customers for our products make their purchasing decisions principally on the basis of delivered price and, to a lesser extent, on reliability, customer service and product quality. The selling prices of our products fluctuate in response to global market conditions, changes in supply and demand and cost factors.
Historically, global fertilizer demand has been driven primarily by population growth, gross domestic product growth, changes in dietary habits, planted acreage, and application rates, among other things. We expect these key variables to continue to have major impacts on long-term fertilizer demand for the foreseeable future. Short-term fertilizer demand growth may depend on global economic conditions, farm sector income, weather patterns, the level of global grain stocks relative to consumption, fertilizer application rates, and governmental regulations, including fertilizer subsidies or requirements mandating increased use of bio-fuels or industrial nitrogen products, such as DEF. Geopolitical factors such as temporary disruptions in fertilizer trade related to government intervention, shipping delays and/or cost increases resulting from regional conflicts or changes in the buying/selling patterns of key exporting/consuming countries, including China, India, Russia and Brazil, among others, often play a major role in shaping near-term market fundamentals. The economics of nitrogen-based fertilizer manufacturing play a key role in decisions to increase or reduce production capacity. Supply of fertilizers is generally driven by available capacity and operating rates, raw material costs and availability, government policies and global trade. Raw materials are dependent on energy sources such as natural gas or coal; therefore, supply costs are affected by the supply of and demand for those commodities.
Global Trade in Fertilizer
Profitability of our products within a particular geographic region is determined not only by the relationship between global supply and demand, but also by the supply/demand balance within that region. Regional supply and demand can be influenced significantly by factors affecting trade within regions. Some of these factors include the relative cost to produce and deliver product, relative currency values, the availability of credit, agricultural supply and demand, industrial product demand and policies such as emissions abatement, government support for manufacturers or purchasers and governmental nitrogen product trade policies, including the imposition of duties, tariffs or quotas, that affect foreign trade or investment. Government energy or carbon policies may also affect regional nitrogen supply and demand. The development of additional natural gas reserves in North America has decreased natural gas costs in North America relative to the rest of the world, making North American nitrogen fertilizer producers more competitive. Changes in currency values may also alter our cost competitiveness relative to producers in other regions of the world.
The North American nitrogen fertilizer market for certain nitrogen products is dependent on imports to balance supply and demand, and imports traditionally account for a significant portion of nitrogen fertilizer products consumed in North America. Producers of nitrogen-based fertilizers located in the Middle East, Trinidad, Africa and Russia have been major exporters to North America in recent years.
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Farmers’ Economics
The demand for fertilizer is affected by the aggregate crop planting decisions and fertilizer application rate decisions of individual farmers. Individual farmers make planting decisions based largely on prospective profitability of a harvest, while the specific varieties and amounts of fertilizer they apply depend on factors like their current liquidity, soil conditions, weather patterns, crop and fertilizer prices, fertilizer products used and timing of applications, expected yields and the types of crops planted.
Market Conditions
Geopolitical Environment
Changes in the geopolitical environment can have significant effects on our financial results. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and the resulting war between Russia and Ukraine, disrupted global markets for certain commodities, including natural gas, nitrogen fertilizers and certain commodity grains and oilseeds, leading to production curtailments, export reductions and logistical complications involving these commodities. Additionally, energy, financial and transportation sanctions were announced by U.S., Canadian, European and other governments against Russia in response to the war. During 2022 and 2023, market participants continued to adjust trade flows and manufacturers have continued to adjust production levels in response to changing conditions resulting from these factors. As of the date of filing of this report, nitrogen fertilizers have largely been explicitly exempted from sanctions against Russia by the United States and certain other governments, and as a result, there has been an increase in Russian fertilizer exports into the United States and other parts of the world.
As further described below, natural gas is the principal raw material used to produce our nitrogen products. Natural gas is a globally traded commodity that experiences price fluctuations based on supply and demand balances and has been impacted by geopolitical events, including the war between Russia and Ukraine. European energy markets, which have historically sourced a substantial portion of their natural gas from Russia, were disrupted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent reduction of Russian natural gas supply to Europe during 2022. This led to further increases in natural gas prices and natural gas price volatility, which in turn have led to disruptions in manufacturing and distribution activities at other nitrogen manufacturers and suppliers in our industry, resulting in changes in nitrogen product trade flows and reductions in global fertilizer supply. In September 2022, in response to the high prices for natural gas in the United Kingdom, we idled ammonia production at our Billingham complex and since that time have been importing ammonia from one of our other manufacturing facilities or from purchases in the open market for upgrade into AN and other nitrogen products at our Billingham complex. In the third quarter of 2023, we approved our plan to permanently close the ammonia plant at our Billingham complex.
The geopolitical developments that began in 2022 relating to the war in Ukraine also led to some supply chain disruptions for Russian and other producers of fertilizer, contributing to reduced global nitrogen fertilizer supply. In particular, disruptions in nitrogen exports from Russia, a leading exporter of nitrogen fertilizer products globally, and nitrogen production in Europe, as a result of higher and more volatile natural gas prices as Russian-sourced natural gas supply declined, contributed to reduced nitrogen supply globally. In addition, Russia and Ukraine have been large exporters of commodity grains such as wheat, corn and soybeans. The direct and indirect impacts of the war in Ukraine, and the related uncertainty, resulted in reduced commodity grain supply from Russia and Ukraine, causing increased prices for grains globally. The increase in commodity grain prices in turn supported strong demand for nitrogen fertilizer in 2022.
These geopolitical developments further contributed to an already tight global supply and demand balance for nitrogen fertilizers, causing changes in global trade flows as both manufacturers and customers reacted to the changing market dynamics. As a result, global nitrogen fertilizer prices remained high and experienced significant volatility in 2022.
As Russian-sourced natural gas supply declined due to geopolitical factors, European purchasers of natural gas increased imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to build storage levels leading up to the winter 2022/2023 peak demand season. As storage levels of natural gas increased due to the increased LNG imports, in conjunction with a warmer than normal winter in Europe, prices for natural gas fell during the first half of 2023 and then stabilized during the third quarter of 2023. As natural gas prices decreased, certain nitrogen producers restarted previously idled production, leading to an increase in global nitrogen production operating rates. The increased global nitrogen product supply availability resulting from the increase in operating rates, in addition to new global production coming on line and an increase in imports of Russian UAN into the United States, resulted in an increase in supply and lower average selling prices in 2023 compared to average selling prices realized in 2022. Russian exports of ammonia, which had been curtailed due to reduced pipeline flow, may also increase in 2024 as Russian producers develop alternative avenues to export product.
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We expect that these geopolitical events, and any further government-imposed sanctions or other government actions affecting food or energy security, will continue to have an impact on the supply and demand balance of nitrogen fertilizer products globally and selling prices for our nitrogen fertilizer products.
In addition, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2023 and continuing into 2024, there have been escalating conflicts in the Middle East. This has led to shipping disruptions as shippers avoid conflicts in the Red Sea, which increases shipping times and costs as both producers and customers adjust shipping routes and trade flows. These regional conflicts could lead to more widespread geopolitical disruption.
Nitrogen Selling Prices and Sales Volume
Our nitrogen products are globally traded commodities with selling prices that fluctuate in response to global market conditions, changes in supply and demand, and other cost factors including domestic and local conditions. Intense global competition—reflected in import volumes and prices—strongly influences delivered prices for nitrogen fertilizers. In general, the prevailing global prices for nitrogen products must be at a level to incent the high cost marginal producer to produce product at a breakeven or above price, or else they would cease production and leave a portion of global demand unsatisfied.
Average selling prices for all of our major products were lower in 2023 than in 2022, as lower global energy costs reduced the global market clearing price required to meet global demand. In addition, the higher average selling prices in 2022 were driven in part by the geopolitical environment, as described above. The average selling price for our products was $347 per ton in 2023 compared to $610 per ton in 2022. The 43% decrease in the average selling prices for our products in 2023 compared to 2022 resulted in a year-over-year decrease in net sales of approximately $4.98 billion.
Our total sales volume was 4% higher in 2023 than in 2022, due primarily to higher sales volume in our UAN, Ammonia and Other segments. We shipped 19.1 million tons of product in 2023 compared to 18.3 million tons in 2022. The increase in total sales volume resulted in an increase in net sales of approximately $426 million. The impact of the Waggaman acquisition, which is included in our operating results since the acquisition on December 1, 2023, increased our sales volume by 57,000 tons and our net sales by $28 million.
Sales volume for our products in 2023, 2022 and 2021 is shown in the table below.
 202320222021
 Sales Volume (tons)Net SalesSales Volume (tons)Net SalesSales Volume (tons)Net Sales
 (tons in thousands; dollars in millions)
Ammonia3,546 $1,679 3,300 $3,090 3,589 $1,787 
Granular Urea4,570 1,823 4,572 2,892 4,290 1,880 
UAN7,237 2,068 6,788 3,572 6,584 1,788 
AN1,571 497 1,594 845 1,720 510 
Other2,206 564 2,077 787 2,318 573 
Total19,130 $6,631 18,331 $11,186 18,501 $6,538 
Natural Gas
Natural gas is the principal raw material used to produce our nitrogen products. Natural gas is both a chemical feedstock and a fuel used to produce nitrogen products. Natural gas is a significant cost component of our manufactured nitrogen products, representing approximately 40% and 50%, respectively, of our production costs in 2023 and 2022.
The following table presents the average daily market price of natural gas at the Henry Hub, the most heavily-traded natural gas pricing point in North America:
 Year ended December 31,
 2023202220212023 v. 20222022 v. 2021
Average daily market price of natural gas Henry Hub (Louisiana)$2.53 $6.38 $3.82 $(3.85)(60)%$2.56 67 %
Most of our nitrogen manufacturing facilities are located in the United States and Canada. As a result, the price of natural gas in North America directly impacts a substantial portion of our operating expenses. Throughout 2023, there were several factors that led to lower average North American natural gas prices compared to 2022. Warmer-than-normal temperatures in the
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first quarter of 2023 drove lower heating demand for natural gas, while North American supply remained strong, as there were few weather-related production disruptions. In addition, although the higher cost for natural gas outside of North America incentivized liquefaction facilities in the United States to export domestic natural gas during 2023, the outage at the Freeport LNG facility in the first quarter of 2023 as well as planned maintenance in 2023 at several other LNG facilities limited total gas exports, resulting in greater domestic supply availability. In the fourth quarter of 2023, a warmer-than-average start to the winter season led to lower-than-expected heating demand, while North American natural gas production during the fourth quarter of 2023 was at historical highs. As a result, injection rates into natural gas storage in the United States during the fourth quarter of 2023 exceeded historical averages, leading to end-of-year storage levels that were 19% higher than one year earlier and 13% higher than the five-year average.
Our Billingham U.K. nitrogen manufacturing facility, prior to its ceasing ammonia production beginning in September 2022, was subject to fluctuations associated with the price of natural gas in Europe. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 disrupted European energy markets and threatened security of supply, driving natural gas prices in Europe upward to unprecedented levels. The average daily market price of natural gas at the National Balancing Point (NBP), the major trading point for natural gas in the United Kingdom, was $24.56 for 2022. In September 2022, as a result of extremely high and volatile natural gas prices and the lack of a corresponding increase in global nitrogen product market prices, we idled ammonia production at our Billingham complex. Since that time, we have imported ammonia for upgrade into AN and other nitrogen products at our Billingham complex. In the third quarter of 2023, we approved our plan to permanently close the ammonia plant at our Billingham complex. As a result, we continue to import ammonia for upgrade.
The total cost of natural gas used for production at our manufacturing facilities, which includes the impact of realized natural gas derivatives, decreased 49% to $3.67 per MMBtu in 2023 from $7.18 per MMBtu in 2022. The decrease in natural gas costs in 2023 as compared to 2022 resulted in an increase in gross margin of approximately $1.16 billion.
Financial Executive Summary
We reported net earnings attributable to common stockholders of $1.53 billion in 2023 compared to $3.35 billion in 2022, a decrease in net earnings of 54%, or $1.82 billion. The decrease in net earnings reflects a decrease in gross margin partially offset by the following: a lower income tax provision, lower net interest expense, a decrease in net earnings attributable to the noncontrolling interest, and impairment charges related to our U.K. operations in 2022 that did not recur in 2023.
Gross margin decreased by $3.32 billion to $2.55 billion for the year ended December 31, 2023 compared to the year ended December 31, 2022. The decrease in gross margin was due primarily to a 43% decrease in average selling prices to $347 per ton in 2023 from $610 per ton in 2022, which decreased gross margin by $4.98 billion. The impact of lower selling prices was partially offset by lower natural gas costs, which increased gross margin by $1.16 billion.
Lower gross margin was partially offset by the following: a decrease in the income tax provision of $748 million due primarily to lower pre-tax earnings in 2023, a $287 million decrease in net interest expense, and a decrease of $278 million in net earnings attributable to the noncontrolling interest. In addition, pre-tax impairment and restructuring charges of $258 million related to our U.K. operations were recognized in 2022 compared to $10 million in 2023.
Diluted net earnings per share attributable to common stockholders decreased $8.51 per share, to $7.87 per share in 2023 compared to $16.38 per share in 2022 due primarily to lower net earnings, partially offset by lower weighted-average common shares outstanding as a result of shares repurchased under our share repurchase programs.
Acquisition of Waggaman Ammonia Production Facility
On December 1, 2023, we acquired an ammonia production facility located in Waggaman, Louisiana from Dyno Nobel Louisiana Ammonia, LLC (DNLA), a U.S. subsidiary of Australia-based Incitec Pivot Limited (IPL), pursuant to an asset purchase agreement with DNLA and IPL. The facility has a nameplate capacity of 880,000 tons of ammonia annually.
In connection with the acquisition, we entered into a long-term ammonia offtake agreement providing for us to supply up to 200,000 tons of ammonia per year to IPL’s Dyno Nobel, Inc. subsidiary. Under the terms of the asset purchase agreement, $425 million of the purchase price of $1.675 billion, subject to adjustment, was allocated by the parties to the ammonia offtake agreement. We funded the balance of the purchase price with $1.223 billion of cash on hand.
The consideration transferred reflects an estimated net working capital adjustment and other adjustments to the purchase price, which is subject to further adjustment pursuant to the terms of the asset purchase agreement. We expect any further purchase price adjustments required under the asset purchase agreement will be completed in 2024.
The financial results of the Waggaman facility are included in our consolidated statement of operations and in our
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Ammonia segment from the acquisition date of December 1, 2023. For the year ended December 31, 2023, the amount of net sales and net earnings of the Waggaman facility since the acquisition date was $28 million and $7 million, respectively.
In connection with recording the acquisition, we recognized, among other items, goodwill, intangible assets and a supply contract liability. See Note 6—Acquisition of Waggaman Ammonia Production Facility for additional information.
Items Affecting Comparability of Results
During the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022, we reported net earnings attributable to common stockholders of $1.53 billion and $3.35 billion, respectively. In addition to the impact of market conditions and the acquisition of the Waggaman ammonia production facility discussed above, certain items affected the comparability of our financial results during the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022. The following table and related discussion outline these items and their impact on the comparability of our financial results for these periods. The descriptions of items below that refer to amounts in the table refer to the pre-tax amounts unless otherwise noted.
20232022
Pre-Tax
After-Tax(1)
Pre-Tax
After-Tax(1)
(in millions)
Unrealized net mark-to-market (gain) loss on natural gas derivatives(2)
$(39)$(30)$41 $31 
Loss on foreign currency transactions, including intercompany loans(3)
— — 28 21 
U.K. operations:
U.K. long-lived and intangible asset impairment— — 239 180 
U.K. operations restructuring10 19 14 
Acquisition and integration costs39 29 — — 
Unrealized gain on embedded derivative liability(3)
— — (14)(11)
Impairment of equity method investment in PLNL(4)
43 32 — — 
Pension settlement loss and curtailment gainsnet(5)
— — 17 13 
Canada Revenue Agency Competent Authority Matter and Transfer pricing positions:
Interest expense— — 170 168 
Interest income— — (29)(22)
Income tax provision(6)
— — — 65 
Loss on debt extinguishment— — 
______________________________________________________________________________
(1)The tax impact is calculated utilizing a marginal effective rate of 23.5% in both 2023 and 2022, except for acquisition and integration costs related to the Waggaman acquisition, which reflects a 26.2% marginal effective rate, and U.K. long-lived and intangible asset impairment, which reflects the amount of income tax benefit recognized. An income tax benefit for the U.K. goodwill impairment was not recorded as it is nondeductible for income tax purposes.
(2)Included in cost of sales in our consolidated statements of operations.
(3)Included in other operating—net in our consolidated statements of operations.
(4)Included in equity in (loss) earnings of operating affiliate in our consolidated statements of operations.
(5)Included in other non-operating—net in our consolidated statement of operations.
(6)The after-tax income tax provision amount of $65 million reflects an income tax provision of $70 million, consisting of the $78 million income tax provision referenced below under “Canada Revenue Agency Competent Authority Matter” and the $8 million of income tax benefit referenced below under “Transfer pricing positions,” net of $5 million of income tax provision that is reflected in the after-tax interest expense and interest income amounts shown in this table.
Unrealized net mark-to-market (gain) loss on natural gas derivatives
Natural gas is the largest and most volatile single component of the manufacturing cost for our nitrogen-based products. At certain times, we have managed the risk of changes in natural gas prices through the use of derivative financial instruments. The derivatives that we use for this purpose are primarily natural gas fixed price swaps, basis swaps and options. We use natural gas derivatives as an economic hedge of natural gas price risk, but without the application of hedge accounting. This can result in volatility in reported earnings due to the unrealized mark-to-market adjustments that occur from changes in the value of the derivatives, which are reflected in cost of sales in our consolidated statements of operations. In 2023 and 2022, we recognized an unrealized net mark-to-market (gain) loss on natural gas derivatives of $(39) million and $41 million, respectively.
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Loss on foreign currency transactions, including intercompany loans
In 2022, we recognized a loss on foreign currency transactions of $28 million, which consists of foreign currency exchange rate impacts on foreign currency denominated transactions, including the impact of changes in foreign currency exchange rates on intercompany loans that were not permanently invested.
U.K. operations
In 2023, we recognized total charges of $10 million, consisting primarily of the recognition of an asset retirement obligation and post-employment benefits related to contractual and statutory obligations due to employees as a result of our approved plan to permanently close the ammonia plant at our Billingham complex.
In 2022, we recognized total charges of $258 million, consisting primarily of asset impairment charges related to property, plant and equipment at our Billingham and Ince facilities and definite-lived intangible assets. See Note 7—United Kingdom Operations Restructuring and Impairment Charges for further information.
Acquisition and integration costs
On December 1, 2023, we acquired an ammonia production facility located in Waggaman, Louisiana, as described above under “Acquisition of Waggaman Ammonia Production Facility.” In 2023, we incurred $39 million of acquisition and integration costs related to the Waggaman acquisition.
Unrealized gain on embedded derivative liability
Under the terms of our strategic venture with CHS, if our credit rating as determined by two of three specified credit rating agencies is below certain levels, we are required to make a non-refundable yearly payment of $5 million to CHS until the earlier of the date that our credit rating is upgraded to above such levels by two of the three specified credit rating agencies or February 1, 2026. This obligation is recorded at fair value and has been recognized on our consolidated balance sheets as an embedded derivative. Beginning in 2016, our credit ratings were below such levels and, as a result, under the terms of the strategic venture, we made an annual payment of $5 million to CHS in the fourth quarter of each year from 2016 through 2021. Our credit rating was upgraded above certain levels in July 2022 by one of the specified credit rating agencies and in October 2022 by another one of the specified credit rating agencies. As a result of these upgrades, in the fourth quarter of 2022, there was a reduction in the fair value of the embedded derivative liability, and we recognized an unrealized gain of $14 million.
Impairment of equity method investment in PLNL
PLNL, our joint venture in Trinidad, operates an ammonia plant that relies on natural gas supplied, under a gas sales contract (the NGC Contract), by The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC). The NGC Contract had an expiration date of September 2023. In the third quarter of 2023, PLNL entered into a new gas sales contract with NGC (the New NGC Contract), which is effective October 2023 through December 2025.
In the third quarter of 2023 and due to the terms of the New NGC Contract, we assessed our investment in PLNL for impairment and determined that the carrying value of our equity method investment in PLNL exceeded its fair value. As a result, we recorded an impairment of our equity method investment in PLNL of $43 million, which is reflected in equity in (loss) earnings of operating affiliate in our consolidated statement of operations for the year ended December 31, 2023.
Pension settlement loss and curtailment gains—net
On July 15, 2022, we entered into an agreement with an insurance company to purchase a non-participating group annuity contract and transfer approximately $375 million of our primary U.S. defined benefit pension plan’s projected benefit obligation. The transaction closed on July 22, 2022 and was funded with plan assets. Under the transaction, the insurance company assumed responsibility for pension benefits and annuity administration for approximately 4,000 retirees or their beneficiaries. As a result of this transaction, in the third quarter of 2022, we remeasured the plan’s projected benefit obligation and plan assets, and we recognized a non-cash pre-tax pension settlement loss of $24 million, reflecting the unamortized net unrecognized postretirement benefit costs related to the settled obligations, with a corresponding offset to accumulated other comprehensive loss. In the fourth quarter of 2022, the final settlement of the non-participating group annuity contract resulted in a refund of $4 million to us, which decreased the non-cash pre-tax pension settlement loss recognized by $3 million to $21 million. The settlement loss is reflected in other non-operating—net in our consolidated statement of operations for the year ended December 31, 2022.
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In October 2022, we remeasured certain of our U.S. and Canadian defined benefit pension plans due to plan amendments resulting from a revision to our North American retirement plan strategy. As a result of these plan amendments, we recognized $4 million of curtailment gains, which is reflected in other non-operating—net in our consolidated statement of operations for the year ended December 31, 2022. See Note 13—Pension and Other Postretirement Benefits for further information.
Canada Revenue Agency Competent Authority Matter
In 2016, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Alberta Tax and Revenue Administration (Alberta TRA) issued Notices of Reassessment for tax years 2006 through 2009 to one of our Canadian subsidiaries asserting a disallowance of certain patronage deductions. We filed Notices of Objection with respect to the Notices of Reassessment with the CRA and Alberta TRA and posted letters of credit in lieu of paying the additional tax liability assessed. The letters of credit served as security until the matter was resolved. In 2018, the matter, including the related transfer pricing topic regarding the allocation of profits between Canada and the United States, was accepted for consideration under the bilateral settlement provisions of the U.S.-Canada tax treaty (the Treaty) by the United States and Canadian competent authorities, and included tax years 2006 through 2011. In the second quarter of 2021, the Company submitted the transfer pricing aspect of the matter into the arbitration process under the terms of the Treaty.
In February 2022, we were informed that a decision was reached by the arbitration panel for tax years 2006 through 2011. In March 2022, we received further details of the results of the arbitration proceedings and the settlement provisions between the United States and Canadian competent authorities, and we accepted the decision of the arbitration panel. Under the terms of the arbitration decision, additional income for tax years 2006 through 2011 was subject to tax in Canada, resulting in our having additional Canadian tax liability for those tax years. See Note 12—Income Taxes for additional information.
In 2022, as a result of the impact of these events on our Canadian and U.S. federal and state income taxes, we recognized an income tax provision of $78 million, reflecting the net impact of $129 million of accrued income taxes payable to Canada for tax years 2006 through 2011, partially offset by net income tax receivables of approximately $51 million in the United States, and we accrued net interest of $102 million, primarily reflecting the estimated interest payable to Canada.
Transfer pricing positions
As a result of the outcome of the arbitration decision discussed above, we also evaluated our transfer pricing positions between Canada and the United States for open years 2012 and after. Based on this evaluation, we recorded the following in 2022:
liabilities for unrecognized tax benefits of $159 million, with a corresponding income tax provision, and accrued interest of $59 million related to the liabilities for unrecognized tax benefits, and
noncurrent income tax receivables of $188 million, with a corresponding income tax benefit, and accrued interest income of $20 million related to the noncurrent income tax receivables.
In 2022, the impact of these evaluations of transfer pricing positions on our consolidated statement of operations, including $21 million of net deferred income tax provision for other transfer pricing tax effects, was $8 million of income tax benefit and $39 million of net interest expense before tax ($44 million after tax).
Loss on debt extinguishment
On April 21, 2022, we redeemed in full all of the $500 million outstanding principal amount of the 3.450% senior notes due June 2023 (the 2023 Notes) in accordance with the optional redemption provisions in the indenture governing the 2023 Notes. The total aggregate redemption price paid in connection with the April 2022 redemption of the 2023 Notes was $513 million, including accrued interest. As a result, we recognized a loss on debt extinguishment of $8 million, consisting primarily of the premium paid on the redemption of the $500 million principal amount of the 2023 Notes prior to their scheduled maturity.

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Consolidated Results of Operations
The following table presents our consolidated results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2023, 2022 and 2021:

 Year ended December 31,
 2023202220212023 v. 20222022 v. 2021
 (in millions, except as noted)
Net sales $6,631 $11,186 $6,538 $(4,555)(41)%$4,648 71 %
Cost of sales (COS)4,086 5,325 4,151 (1,239)(23)%1,174 28 %
Gross margin2,545 5,861 2,387 (3,316)(57)%3,474 146 %
Gross margin percentage38.4 %52.4 %36.5 %(14.0)%15.9 %
Selling, general and administrative expenses289 290 223 (1)— %67 30 %
U.K. goodwill impairment— — 285 — — %(285)(100)%
U.K. long-lived and intangible asset impairment— 239 236 (239)(100)%%
U.K. operations restructuring10 19 — (9)(47)%19 N/M
Acquisition and integration costs39 — — 39 N/M— — %
Other operating—net(31)10 (39)(41)N/M49 N/M
Total other operating costs and expenses307 558 705 (251)(45)%(147)(21)%
Equity in (loss) earnings of operating affiliate(8)94 47 (102)N/M47 100 %
Operating earnings2,230 5,397 1,729 (3,167)(59)%3,668 212 %
Interest expense150 344 184 (194)(56)%160 87 %
Interest income(158)(65)(1)(93)(143)%(64)N/M
Loss on debt extinguishment— 19 (8)(100)%(11)(58)%
Other non-operating—net(10)15 (16)(25)N/M31 N/M
Earnings before income taxes2,248 5,095 1,543 (2,847)(56)%3,552 230 %
Income tax provision 410 1,158 283 (748)(65)%875 309 %
Net earnings1,838 3,937 1,260 (2,099)(53)%2,677 212 %
Less: Net earnings attributable to noncontrolling interest313 591 343 (278)(47)%248 72 %
Net earnings attributable to common stockholders $1,525 $3,346 $917 $(1,821)(54)%$2,429 265 %
Diluted net earnings per share attributable to common stockholders $7.87 $16.38 $4.24 $(8.51)(52)%$12.14 286 %
Diluted weighted-average common shares outstanding 193.8 204.2 216.2 (10.4)(5)%(12.0)(6)%
Dividends declared per common share$1.60 $1.50 $1.20 $0.10 %$0.30 25 %
______________________________________________________________________________
N/M—Not Meaningful















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The following table presents certain supplemental data for the years ended December 31, 2023, 2022 and 2021:

 Year ended December 31,
 2023202220212023 v. 20222022 v. 2021
Natural gas supplemental data (per MMBtu)
Natural gas costs in COS(1)
$3.26 $7.16 $4.21